APEX, N.C. — A teacher at Apex Middle School was suspended Thursday after he was caught on video arguing with a student and using language that raised concerns for Wake County Public Schools administrators.
The video shows the teacher, Dick Wesendunk, who also serves as a coach, in a confrontation with a black student. He can be heard saying, “That’s what happened to the slaves. They were controlled by their owners. You’re letting them control you.”
The incident happened during study hall between a teacher and seventh grade student.
WRAL News obtained a copy of the video from the student’s mother. It appears to have been shot with a cellphone by another student in the classroom. WRAL has removed parts of the video that show other students.
The student’s mother, Ayonna Wilson, said she was upset by the video.
“It’s 2017, we are not going through slavery anymore, so I just felt like it was the wrong choice of words,” she said.
Principal Allen Ellzey sent a message to parents saying said an investigation into the incident was pending.
“This morning I became aware of a video that showing a teacher arguing with a student. I immediately contacted the WCPSS Human Resources department because the language used by the teacher raised concerns. They, in turn, suspended the teacher pending an investigation.
While we are not at liberty to discuss confidential personnel information, please be assured that the district takes any complaints against personnel seriously and is committed to fair and thorough investigations and resolutions of such matters.
In addition, I want to make it clear that we have high expectations for behavior and policies addressing codes of ethics for the teachers in our building. We strictly adhere to these expectations and enforce these policies.
I regret having to share this news with you, but I assure you that I am committed to maintaining a standard of excellence for our school. Please contact me with any questions.”
But Wilson said she was not satisfied by the response.
“That’s not satisfactory for me,” Wilson said. “I feel as though he should not be working with children.”
She said she is also concerned about her son.
“He is worried about the students because he was humiliated,” she said. “They were laughing in the video and found it funny.”
Wilson did say she has not had problems with Apex Middle School until now and still considers it a good school.