Dubuque Hempstead staff member on leave after using racial slur caught on camera

Hempstead's assistant principal stated the actions in this video do not represent the values of the school and that there is currently an investigation underway
Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 1:14 PM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - A Dubuque Hempstead staff member is now on leave after a video of him using a racial slur to a student spread on social media.

The assistant principal released a statement addressed to families within the school saying the staff member is now on leave while the district investigates.

Robert Kimble, founder of the Dubuque Dream Center, says watching the video of a Dubuque Hempstead High School staff member using a racial slur towards a student left him surprised, and said the incident, while tough, is an opportunity. “Our school district is a great school district. It’s just important that if there are still people out there who think this way, and act this way, that we hold them accountable,” said Kimble.

It’s work the Dream Center is familiar with. Their mission is to unify people in their community across racial and socioeconomic lines.

Kimble said the action from the Dubuque Community School District to place the staff member on leave was a good first step, and shared a message for any students seeing the video circulate, saying “Number one, don’t forget that there are people who care about you in this community. But number two, use this as an opportunity to educate.”

The school said appropriate disciplinary action would follow the investigation.

You can read the full statement from the school below:

Hempstead Families,

With Mr. Kolker out of the office today, I am writing to follow-up on a video that we learned is circulating on social media showing a Hempstead staff member using a racial slur at school.I want to be clear in saying that the actions shown in this video are not acceptable and do not represent the values of Hempstead High School or the Dubuque Community School District. The staff member involved was immediately placed on leave while the district completes an investigation, which as always, will be followed by appropriate disciplinary action.We strive every day to ensure that each of our students learns in a safe, inclusive learning environment and today, for many, Hempstead did not live up to that expectation.I have talked personally with many students and parents today, as have members of our administrative team and staff across the building, to reinforce that we are here to support students today and moving forward. I have been nothing short of impressed by the maturity, honesty and emotion in those conversations. One of our Mustang values is to be inclusive, and we will continue to strive to do better each day.

Sincerely, Julia Jorgenson Assistant Principal