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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The Sacramento City Unified School District is taking action against a middle school teacher who used a racial slur in class. 

School officials want to fire the teacher, who taught Spanish to seventh graders at Kit Carson International Academy. 

The incident happened last year and community leaders demanded accountability and the firing of that teacher. Now, five months later, it’s in the process of happening. 

“I know the f-word is something you hear constantly,” the teacher can be heard saying in a recording. “It used to be a nasty, ugly word, and now it’s like the n*****, which everybody says, or n****.”

The teacher, Katherine Sanders, was recorded by one of her students. 

“It’s not anymore, somehow. Wait, wait, how is that not a horrible word? Where I live, I hear it all the time,” Sanders can be heard saying. 

The district said they found her conduct was severe enough to be let go, serving her with charges for termination and immediate unpaid suspension. 

“As early as Dec. 21st of last year, the teacher was placed on leave without pay. She had a certain amount of time to appeal that, she chose not to,” said Mark T. Harris, monitor of equity and social justice at SCUSD. 

Harris, a longtime civil rights attorney, was recently hired by the district as a race and equity liaison after multiple incidents of alleged discrimination. He is now investigating any accusations of racist conduct. 

“The district has a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination, discriminatory acts, discriminatory language,” Harris said. 

Harris said Sanders has used the slur on more than one occasion. 

“To me, this is a statement. Hopefully … It keeps everyone honest. I don’t think it’s a victory,” said community activist Berry Accius. 

Accius believes the decision to fire Sanders was made because of another racial incident: the targeting of West Campus High School’s vice principal

“Had that not come aboard or that not become a new set of distractions, I think what they would have done was swept it under the rug, and Ms. Sanders would have probably continued to have her job,” 

Accius said more still needs to be done to change the culture within the district, including having more minority teachers and administrators. 

Both men said the racial slur Sanders said should never be acceptable in any situation. 

“The ’N-word is still a dangerous word and a word that shouldn’t be used,” Accius said. 

“No one should use the N-word in the context I can think of when it comes to K-12 academic institutions,” Harris said. 

The district is moving towards termination, and Sanders has asked for a hearing to explain her side. 

It could take another three months before the district completes that process.