MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Highland Park Middle School staff member is on administrative leave while the district reviews a video that shows the employee using “racist and foul” language at the school, officials say.

“The words and actions recorded in this video have caused harm to our Black students, their families and our entire school community,” St. Paul Superintendent Joe Gothard and Principal Char Hoff said Thursday in a joint letter to families and staff.

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The letter was sent after the video, which was recorded Wednesday, was shared on social media.

“No matter the situation, the racist and foul language used in the video has no place in Saint Paul Public Schools,” a statement released Thursday by Gothard reads. “We strive to provide a safe, respectful and welcoming environment for every single child — and as educators, we should be held to a higher standard. This situation represents a failure on our part.”

The staff member is on standard administrative leave pending the outcome of the district review.

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(credit: CBS)

“We will not be silent in the face of racism in our schools. And we will not make excuses for actions that harm the children placed in our care,” the statement says.

Jenna Fulford’s daughter showed her the video. She called the school and got through to the assistant principal, who was there when it happened

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“I was in complete shock. I had to watch it like 20 times because I just couldn’t believe that those words were coming out of a teachers mouth,” Fulford said. “He tried to say that she was saying what another student said. I said no, the video clearly shows her explaining what happened in the classroom. She did not repeat what another student said. She is explaining herself to you and he said well she was frustrated and I said that’s not an excuse.”

Erin Hassanzadeh