Teacher defends 'chocolate' comments

By Sasha Andrade, Reporter, sandrade@local10.com
Published On: Feb 04 2012 11:27:24 PM EST
Updated On: Feb 04 2012 11:47:03 PM EST

A teacher at Blanche Ely High School defends herself after the Broward County Superintendent recommended she be suspended for reportedly referring to a student as a "little chocolate boy."

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. -

A teacher at Blanche Ely High School defended herself Saturday evening after the Broward County Superintendent recommended she be suspended for reportedly referring to a student as a "little chocolate boy."

According to an administrative complaint, Leslie Rainer, a teacher at Blanche Ely High School, engaged in inappropriate conduct by pointing a pointer in a Haitian student's face in a threatening manner and making the statement, "Look little chocolate boy."

READ: Runcie's letter to Rainer

The student recorded Rainer on video pointing the pointer at him and making the statement, "You got one time, chocolate," with the classroom subsequently erupting in laughter, according to documents.

"There's nothing negative about chocolate," Rainer told Local 10's Sasha Andrade.

"I said, 'Not that particular chocolate,' meaning he could not get the chocolate on my desk," said Rainer.

Rainer said she was referring to actual pieces of chocolate on her desk that she hands out as treats during class.

Rainer also told the student that he "was chocolate that nobody wanted," and told the student to "shut up," according to documents.

"We were discussing the different chocolates and how the kids don't like dark chocolates so that's when the comment was made," Rainer said.

Rainer has had a history of inappropriate conduct towards her part-Haitian, minority students, and has been verbally counseled in the past, according to Runcie.

In 2010, Rainer and fellow teacher Djuna Robinson were re-assigned after another teacher at their school alleged the women threw holy water on her because she is an atheist.

Their attorney claimed it was a joke using a perfume bottle.

The incident is still under investigation by the Broward County School Board.

Runcie is now recommending Rainer be suspended without pay for three days, and require completion of diversity training.

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