HARRISONVILLE, Mo. — A former Harrisonville biology teacher fired for using a racial slur in class is suing the school district, claiming discrimination and wrongful termination.

The Harrisonville School Board voted to fire John Magoffin on July 1, 2021, citing that he violated the rules and regulations of the district when he used the N-word in class.

The board said three students confirmed the use of the racial slur that happened in April 2021. Magoffin argued that the word came up in a discussion about rap music.

In the lawsuit, Magoffin says the discussion came up as part of a discussion prompted by the curriculum of the Advanced Placement Biology course he taught, which included topics such as race and the Human Genome Project.

He also argues that freshmen and sophomores in the district are required to read “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, which uses the N-word in its entirety, thus exposing students to the word as inappropriate.

He adds he was condemning, not condoning the use of the word.

Magoffin’s lawsuit states he believes he was discriminated against and suffered harassment due to the Harrisonville School District’s “unlawful policies.”

This was a benign discussion turned into a federal case because the District was bent on reverse discriminating, retaliating, and cancelling a white, male, Christian teacher, who some might label as conservative, from the education culture of Harrisonville for fear of backlash

Magoffin v. Harrisonville-Cass R-IX School District

Magoffin alleges that he was wrongfully terminated under federal law and discriminated against when the decision was made.

The lawsuit has been assigned for mediation.

The Superintendent said the Harrisonville School District does not have a comment on the lawsuit at this time.

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