SANFORD, Maine — The parents of a young boy in Sanford say an administrator at their son's elementary school called him the N-word.
The 9-year-old boy, who is bi-racial, told his mother it happened during school. The district's superintendent confirmed that it did.
On September 27th, Jessica Gouin got a call from Kathryn Davis, the assistant principal at her son's school saying her son was having trouble with some students and Davis wanted him to switch to another class.
But when Gouin asked her son about what happened at school, she says she was shocked to hear his answer.
Javon Jarrett, a 4th grader at Willard School in Sanford, told his parents he admitted to Assistant Principal Davis that he was picking on a classmate but that he was just joking around.
Javon's parents say Davis then asked him "What if I called you a N..... and was just joking around, how would that make you feel?"
School officials have confirmed this did happen but would not say who was speaking to Javon, because it's a personnel matter.
Superintendent of Schools Matt Nelson says the person was trying to explain to Javon that words hurt...but in the end it backfired.
"At the end of the day, we screwed up, made a mistake. I also think context is important and when you understand the context, it doesn't make it better but sometimes it helps to understand it" Nelson says.
Javon's father, Neil Jarrett, says he doesn't understand Davis's intentions.
Following the incident, they had a meeting along with Javon, and while Davis did apologize, Jarrett says she continued using the N-word and upsetting Javon.
"The way she apologized is not really, like Javon I'm sorry I called you that name or used the N-word. She's like Javon I called you a N*****, like she kept using this N***** word...N***** word. like it was nothing."
Javon's mom says her son, who is fun, outgoing and loves to play football and wrestle hasn't been the same since the incident happened.
"He used to love to go to school, pack his lunch, hurry up, drop him off at the bus stop, but now it's he's like I don't want to go school today. My son does not feel comfortable at that school" says Gouin.
Javon's dad says "now every day at school I'm worried about him."
"It's something we take seriously, something that is not okay," Superintendent Nelson said.
He also spoke about whether this issue was being handled internally.
"I can't comment on specifics, but I will let you know in cases as important and serious as this we always try to make it a type of situation where there is proper discipline, also a big educational component and also a restorative component. I'm confident we're addressing all three of those."
Javon's parents say they feel the school and the district have not done enough. They would like to see Davis, in the very least suspended, and have asked that she have zero contact with their son.