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Parent waits to hear from Iredell-Statesville Schools after board member's comment
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Parent waits to hear from Iredell-Statesville Schools after board member's comment

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An Iredell-Statesville Schools parent remains upset with one of its board members after he used a word she said were discriminatory.

“they won’t, it’s woketardness,” was the comment Doug Knight made in response to another person’s comment after Knight posted a Fox News story earlier this month.

That angered Jean Foster, the mother of a student enrolled in the Iredell-Statesville Schools’ Exceptional Children department. She filed a grievance after seeing the comment on Aug. 31. Knight made the comment on Aug. 23.

“It is unethical, immoral, and discriminatory to use a derivative of the word “retarded” to attempt to debase others. The implication is that mental disorders are to be mocked. Perhaps Dr. Knight believes that people with mental retardation or other mental or physical disorders are inferior to him or that it is okay to degrade them by using disparaging wording, but it is not “ Foster said in her grievance filed with the school board. She asked for Knight to be removed after she believes Knight violated the school system’s code of ethics.

The word “woketardness” is a portmanteau of “woke” and “retard” with the latter being a word considered a slur.

The word woke when used as slang is defined as “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)” according to Merrian-Webster. Its use has grown beyond its African-American origins and become more commonly used to summarize broader social justice issues. It also is now used as a pejorative for taking political correctness too far.

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“My only comment is while I am not politically correct, if I offended anyone, I apologize for it,” Doug Knight said in an explanation of his use of the word.

As of last week, Iredell-Statesville School acknowledged the complaint but said it did not have a comment at this time.

Foster said she awaits the response from I-SS.

“I had an outpouring of support from people I know. My guess is Dr. Knight had the same. Every comment and response solidifies my complaint. Words matter. Whether one agrees with my complaint or not, the response proves the words we say mean something.” Foster said.

Source of controversy

The story was about the removal of Chamberlin Rock at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. While it was named after Thomas Crowder Chamberlin, an eminent 19th-century geologist and university president, its nickname is a racial slur.

After some debate and pressure from the student body, the university chose to remove the rock from its campus.


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