A St. Paul math teacher has been placed on leave after allegedly making inappropriate remarks about the presidential election and its aftermath.
“Several students said the comments made them feel unsafe and uncomfortable,” Como Park High Principal Theresa Neal wrote in an e-mail to families on Tuesday.
The school district said Wednesday that the teacher, Bruce Ringaman, is the subject of a complaint being investigated by the district, but that state law prohibits the release of information regarding the nature of the complaint.
Joanne Hodgeman, a Como Park High parent whose daughter is in Ringaman’s math class, said her daughter told her Ringaman showed students a Facebook video of four black teens assaulting a white man. He then is alleged to have said the teens attacked the man because he was a Donald Trump supporter.
When students asked how he knew that, Ringaman replied, “Why else would four black kids beat up a white guy?” Hodgeman said.
She said her daughter also quoted Ringaman as saying that he had voted for Trump, “that Africans should go back to Africa,” that he opposed gay marriage and that he supported the construction of a wall between Mexico and the United States.
Ringaman, who has been a district teacher since 1998, did not reply to an e-mail seeking comment. He is the second Como Park High teacher to be investigated this year for allegations of inappropriate or racist comments.
In March, Black Lives Matter St. Paul threatened to shut down the school over a special-education teacher’s Facebook posts that the group saw as portraying students as drug dealers and gangbangers. The teacher, Theo Olson, was suspended for two weeks without pay and later agreed to step down on Aug. 18.
Central teacher’s beating case
Also this week, attorneys for the St. Paul School District and a Central High teacher who was attacked by a student in December have requested that the student and his parents also be held liable for the teacher’s injuries — if the teacher prevails in the case.
A third-party complaint filed in federal court Tuesday alleges that the student, who was 16, was the “direct, primary cause” of teacher John Ekblad’s injuries.
Ekblad sued the district this year, arguing that it failed to protect him from violence. The district argued that Ekblad’s injuries were caused by “third persons over whom the defendants had no control.” It also argued that Ekblad knowingly took on the risk of injury when he intervened in a fight in the cafeteria on Dec. 4.
A magistrate judge requested at that time that the two sides delay filing a third-party complaint pending settlement attempts. The attorneys met twice in the summer, but they did not reach a deal.