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Hamden schools worker ‘separated from employment’ for racist tirade recorded in East Haven grocery store

HAMDEN - A video of a woman cursing and screaming racial epithets in a supermarket resigned from her job with the Hamden school system.

The video, recorded Friday night in the East Haven ShopRite and posted on Instagram, begins with her already shouting.  The post says nothing about what might have preceded the recording. The woman says 'Don't you dare talk to me like that in front of my kids, motherf-----!" She then repeatedly calls the people recording her the N-word, while the two young children with her watch.

At one point the woman taunts the person filming, daring them to 'put your hands on me'.  She takes out a cellphone in an apparent attempt to also start recording. At that point the camera rapidly moves off the woman towards the side and then returns to her, and she says "You motherf-----!" As the camera operator moves away from the woman, she spits on the floor between them.

Karen Kaplan, with Hamden Public Schools, said in an emailed release that the unidentified woman was an employee with the school system, but that "Such behavior, exhibited in public or private, is completely unacceptable and in conflict with the values of Hamden Public Schools. The employee has separated from employment effective immediately."

Kaplan says the woman was employed as a clerk in the district's central office, and her job entailed no contact with students, teachers, or school-based staff.

In a post on the town website, officials say that "the Human Resource Director contacted the employee and arranged an investigatory meeting with her. Shortly after final arrangements were made for the investigatory meeting, the employee rendered her resignation effective immediately."

The post also says that because her children were present, the Department of Children & Families was notified. The statement continues, "Someone who will use that sort of language in any setting, whether public or private, is not someone we want anywhere near our children. The employee is separated from service, and we hope that her children will receive the support they need after witnessing such a traumatic event."

Hamden Mayor Curt Leng said in a Facebook post that  “What I saw was vile and shocking. While I am disgusted and disheartened seeing such hateful behavior, wildly unacceptable anywhere, I am thankful for the swift and effective actions taken by our school system to address this head on and make clear that hate and violence will not be tolerated.”

The East Haven Police Department is also investigating, saying that they are "aware of this disturbing video and the hate speech contained in it. We are in touch with ShopRite and are looking to get a better understanding of what took place last night. At this time, we have not been contacted by anybody directly involved in this matter. We are urging any potential victims of last night’s incident to contact us so we can investigate this matter further. Speech like this has no place in today’s society and nobody deserves to be spit at or called racist names."

This is a developing story; we'll have more information as it becomes available.

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