White Detroit Teacher Who Allegedly Called Students Slaves Is Defended By Senior Class

White Detroit Teacher Who Allegedly Called Students Slaves Is Defended By Senior Class

Duncan DeBruin, the history instructor, is under investigation.

Published October 12th

Written by Angela Wilson

A white Detroit teacher is under fire for allegedly making discriminatory statements and comparing his students to slaves.

Deadline reports Duncan DeBruin, a social studies teacher at Renaissance High School, compared the students, a majority of whom are Black, to slaves, allegedly responding, "Yeah, you're like slaves to the teachers — we tell you what to do and you have to do everything we say." 

Jamon Jordan, a Black parent of one of the junior students, posted about the incident to Facebook, asking for more parents to come forward and relay any other questionable behavior by the teacher. 

WWJ reports the alleged incident took place after DeBruin showed a video about ancient Greece that talked about helots, defined as a member of an intermediate status between slaves and citizens. 

Jordan reportedly told WWJ his son asked DeBruin, “Are you calling us slaves?” He allegedly replied, “Yes.” 

Jordan claims DeBruin said “blue lives matter” when students tried supporting Black Lives Matter movement, in addition to asking one student if she knew how to read. 

The parent also claims the teacher prohibited students from writing a report of the late social activist and mother of Tupac Shakur, Assata Shakur calling her a “cop killer.” 

But despite Jordan’s outrage, the senior class has defended DeBruin. It’s unclear of the ratio of white and Black senior students who are defending him. 

In an exclusive statement released to FOX 2 on Thursday, October 10, the seniors justified DeBruin’s behavior:

“We will like to publicly defend Duncan DeBruin in regard to the allegations made in the last 24 hours. As you know there is always two sides to every story. We see the metaphor in this situation has been taken out of context,” read the statement in part. “Mr. DeBruin is an outspoken, energetic, candid teacher who expresses himself in a very unique manner. In no way, shape, or form has Mr. DeBruin ever made a comment with the intentions of offending any student Black or white.” 

The Detroit Public Schools Community District is conducting an investigation. 

The school district released a statement, telling WWJ how they have taken "the allegations are disturbing and do not reflect the expectations of our district. We immediately initiated an investigation regarding the allegations and will determine disciplinary action after the investigation is complete."

Photo: Klaus Vedfelt

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