When Jennifer Thompson was looking over a spelling list her 6-year-old daughter Emily brought home from H.H. Beam Elementary School in North Carolina, she wasn't expecting to find was a racial slur on it. "I hoping it was a mistake, and that I was wrong about the definition of the word, but I wasn't," she told the Gaston Gazette. The word in question is "gook," a derogatory term used when referring to people from East Asia. Although Jennifer wasn't happy with having to explain the meaning of the word to Emily, it did help her teach her daughter a valuable lesson. "We had to explain to Emily why she could not say the word, and not to use it," she said.
Jennifer immediately got in touch with Emily's teacher and was told the students were learning words with the "oo" sound like "look," "took," etc. "They said they were going off the word sounds and not necessarily the meanings," she said. A spokesperson for Gaston County Schools told the Gaston Gazette the teacher made a mistake. "It was an oversight by the teacher. She never meant to be insensitive," Todd Hagans said. He also assured that the word would not be appearing on any future lists or tests.