Arbitrator: Penns Grove teacher can't be fired over alleged racial slur

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A state arbitrator has ruled that a Salem County school district cannot fire a tenured middle school teacher who allegedly used a racial slur in class.

The arbitrator found Bruce Bassetti was "muttering to himself" and not addressing students in his seventh grade class.

Bassetti, a 14-year science teacher at Penns Grove Middle School, allegedly used the slur after he confronted an unruly student. He allegedly said, “I’m not trying to deal with these n*****,” according to a report by NJ.com.

Bassetti has denied using the word and noted the student in question was white.

The Penns Grove-Carneys Point Regional School District had voted in April to bring tenure charges against Bassetti. They also sought to suspend him for 120 days without pay and seek his dismissal.

District officials announced Wednesday that they will appeal the arbitrator's ruling to the state's education commissioner.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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