Pasco teacher suspended over racist comments to students

Posted at 11:26 PM, Dec 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-14 23:26:56-05

A Pasco County teacher was suspended for 3 days without pay and transferred to another high school after making racist remarks to a group African-American students.

John Sousa taught at Wesley Chapel High School, where the incident occurred. The incident happened the day after the November Election.

The district said Sousa broke their civility policy.

"We take it seriously. We expect everyone to treat each other with respect and we don't feel that he did that so he's on notice," the district said.

According to Pasco County Schools, Sousa admitted to saying to a group of African American students, who were in the hall and not in class, "where are you supposed to be? Donald Trump will deport you".

Linda Cobbe, with the district, said the teacher seemed remorseful for what he said.

"It was insensitive. It offended the students and we can't have our staff or our students speaking that way," Cobbe said.

Cobbe said this is not the first time this teacher made an insensitive comment, during his career with the district. He did not receive sensitivity training then or now.

"Like I said, the people in the room realized that he realizes what he did wrong. They felt like the punishment was enough to teach him a lesson and that he knows, if it happened again, that he's out of a job," Cobbe said.

According to Cobbe, Sousa is not appealing his punishment.

"He felt that it was fair for what he did," Cobbe said.

Cobbe said the district reported the incident to the state and their department will review it as well.

"He thought he was being funny and that's a judgment issue that has to be addressed and that was discussed with him when employee relations staff met with him," Cobbe said.