‘Racist rhyme’ teacher guilty of misconduct

February 25, 2011 | by | 3 Comments

A supply teacher who taught a racist rhyme to a pupil – which included the vile phrase ”Black Boys Rape Our Young Girls” – has been found guilty of professional misconduct.

'Racist rhyme' teacher guilty of misconduct

James Hersey, 68, taught the shocking mnemonic to a 16-year-old boy who was revising a wiring colour coding system for electronic resistors.

He taught the boy the ditty: ”Black Boys Rape Our Young Girls, But Virgins Goes Without.”

Each word represents the first letter of the colours in the code which are; black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, grey and white.

Mr Hersey was working as a supply teacher at Oriel High School in Crawley, West Sussex, when he repeated the rhyme during a Design Technology lesson on March 18 last year.

When the Year 11 pupil asked for help in remembering the code, Mr Hersey wrote part of the rhyme down on a piece of paper and showed it to him.

Mr Hersey was sacked on the spot after the boy told another teacher what he had been taught.

He was found guilty of unacceptable professional misconduct because of the rhyme’s ”racist and sexual content” by a disciplinary hearing of the General Teaching Council (GTC).

He was told the mnemonic was ”inappropriate in more enlightened times” and that it failed to ”demonstrate respect for diversity and promote equality”.

Mr Hersey, who attended the hearing in Birmingham on Thursday, was slapped with a reprimand which will stay on his record for two years.

Chairman of the panel Paul Bird told him: ”Whilst teaching a Year 11 engineering lesson on Thursday 18 March 2010, you communicated a rhyme to Pupil A that was racist and inappropriately sexual.

”The words intended to represent the resistor colour code are, on any reading, both racist and inappropriately sexual.

”The committee is concerned that Mr Hersey has demonstrated only partial insight into the inappropriateness of the ‘rhyme’ in the 21st century.”

The panel heard that Mr Hersey breached the Code of Conduct and Practice for Registered Teachers which states staff must ”demonstrate respect for diversity and promote equality”.

'Racist rhyme' teacher guilty of misconduct

Mr Hersey has 28 days to appeal the ruling.

Speaking from his home in Hove, Brighton, Mr Hersey today defended his teaching method, saying it was ”a naughty saucy rhyme”.

He said: ”I am an old fashioned teacher and what I told the pupil was a historical fact.

”I am not a racist or a sexist and I have taught pupils of all nationalities.

”The pupil I was helping with revision asked me how I remembered the code and I told him about a naughty saucy rhyme I was taught when I was at Brighton Polytechnic in the 1950s.

”The fact that the word black is in the rhyme is because that is the first colour in the code.

”I also have an issue with the GTC claiming the rhyme was somehow sexual because rape is not a sexual act.”

Grandfather-of-three Hersey, who worked as a supply teacher for 14 years before he was sacked last March added: ”Teachers nowadays are not allowed to teach.

”Political correctness has gone over the top. Teachers are also treated like the lowest of the low while the kids can get away with murder.”

Mr Hersey said he had now decided to retire from teaching and had no intention of returning to the classroom.

Category: News

Comments (3)

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  1. Goldenthought says:

    I learned the color code using a slight variation of the same rhyme here in the U.S. It works. Sad that they probably lost a good teacher because of a punk student.

    • DeltaT says:

      It was “Bad Boys Rape Our Young Girls, But Violet Gives Willingly” when I learned it.

      I like “Big Beautiful Roses Occupy Your Garden But Violets Grow Wild” better.

  2. Trickyisum says:

    I was taught a worse variation on that when I was an apprentice in the late 80s. The teacher should have brought the rhyme up to date, but lets not sweep our past under the carpet either without learning how to move forward.

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