San Francisco Teacher Faces Suspension for Discriminating Against White Male Students

In a troubling incident of alleged discrimination, a San Francisco school district has suspended a teacher for singling out White male students in her high school English class. According to documents obtained through the California Public Records Act, Nicole Noel Henares asked these students to stand up and answer if they “felt like a minority.” The students expressed feeling confused and saddened, as they believed there was no correct answer to this question. The incident came to light when a parent filed a complaint, prompting the San Francisco Unified School District to place Henares on paid administrative leave for investigations. Eventually, she was assigned a 15-day unpaid suspension.

The Emotional Impact on Students

During the investigations, the students affected by Henares’ actions spoke out about the emotional toll their teacher’s behavior had on them. They expressed confusion and sadness, feeling as though they had been unfairly targeted for their race and gender. The students reported that they did not understand the purpose of being asked such a question and felt there was no right answer that would meet their teacher’s expectations. This incident highlights the need for teachers to be mindful of the potential impact their words can have on students, ensuring they create an inclusive and safe learning environment for all.

School District’s Response

Following the parent’s complaint, the San Francisco Unified School District took swift action by placing Henares on paid administrative leave. This step allowed for a thorough investigation into the matter. On December 12, 2022, after completing their investigation, the district determined that disciplinary action was necessary. Henares was assigned a 15-day unpaid suspension to be served from December 13, 2022, to January 12, 2023. It is unclear whether Henares is still employed at Lowell High School, as the school district did not respond to inquiries about her current employment status.

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Controversy Surrounding Education Standards and Practices

This incident comes at a time when education standards and practices are under scrutiny across the nation. The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) has called for the integration of teachings on race, anti-racism, anti-Blackness, and LGBTQIA+ issues into K-12 classrooms. However, this approach has faced criticism for potentially fostering an environment that could lead to biased treatment of students based on their race or gender.

Additionally, the world’s largest education-content publisher pledged to incorporate anti-racism principles into teaching and learning. While the intention behind these efforts is to foster understanding and promote inclusivity, incidents such as the one involving Henares raise concerns about how these teachings are implemented and the potential for unintended consequences.

Students’ Testimonies and Inappropriate Materials

As part of the district’s investigation, the affected students provided testimonies, clarifying that Henares’ actions were unrelated to the class content. They also revealed the use of inappropriate materials, including the sexually explicit song “Montero” by Lil Nas X, which the teacher allegedly taught in class.

Although Henares initially claimed that the White male students dominated class conversations, leading her to single them out, the students present during investigative interviews denied these allegations. Moreover, the district found evidence that the explicit song was downloaded on Google Classroom in two different places.


The suspension of a San Francisco high school teacher for discriminating against White male students has sparked discussions surrounding inclusivity and educational practices. The emotional impact on the affected students highlights the importance of creating a safe and inclusive learning environment. The incident also raises concerns about the implementation of teachings related to race and identity in schools.

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While education standards strive to address systemic issues and promote inclusivity, this incident serves as a reminder that the delivery and execution of these principles require careful planning and consideration. It remains to be seen how the San Francisco Unified School District will address this incident and work towards ensuring fair treatment and equal opportunities for all students.