A New Haven resident and former Hamden Public Schools employee made national headlines after she was caught on video yelling racial slurs at a black man and woman — calling them the n-word at least four times and spitting in their direction — in an East Haven ShopRite store on March 15.
Another ShopRite customer recorded the woman, identified as Corinne Magoveny-Terrone by several Hamden Public School officials, during the confrontation and posted it on social media. Videos of the incident collectively garnered millions of views shortly after it was posted. Magoveny-Terrone resigned as a clerk at Hamden Public High School less than a day after the incident in East Haven.
“This incident that occurred Friday evening sickened and disgusted me. There is no room in our community, our State and our country for such expressions of hate and bigotry,” Hamden Public Schools Superintendent Jody Goeler told the News on March 18. “Certainly, as a school district, we wanted to be absolutely clear that such behavior will not be tolerated.”
According to a March 16 public statement from Hamden Public Schools, the school district’s Human Resources Director Gary Highsmith contacted Magoveny-Terrone and arranged an investigatory meeting with her the day after the incident. Shortly after arrangements were made for the meeting, the employee resigned from her position. Highsmith told the News that he found out about the video from the Assistant Superintendent of Schools at approximately 5:30 a.m. on March 16. Goeler said that Magoveny-Terrone resigned prior to noon the same day.
Officials in Hamden denounced Magoveny-Terrone’s actions.
“What I saw was vile and shocking,” wrote Hamden Mayor Curt B. Leng in a public statement on Facebook on March 16. “While I am disgusted and disheartened seeing such hateful behavior, wildly unacceptable anywhere, I am thankful for the swift and effective actions taken by our school system to address this head on and make clear that hate and violence will not be tolerated.”
Highsmith said that he is relieved that Terrone is no longer an employee of the Hamden Board of Education, and said that he hopes that the Hamden Public School System “has sent a clear and convincing message that hate has no place here.”
“Though her despicable behavior took place off school property and outside of work hours, such behavior certainly has a nexus to her work here in the district, and her continued employment in the district would have been terribly problematic on so many levels” Highsmith told the News.
One version of the video posted on Twitter shows Magoveny-Terrone shouting profanity while her two daughters stand next to her silently. When Magoveny-Terrone said the n-word for the first time, a customer ran closer to her and was held back, while other customers yelled “Don’t do it.” Magoveny-Terrone then taunted them, saying “Put your hands on me. Come on,” as well as additional profanity.
One customer hit Magoveny-Terrone’s phone out of her hands during the conflict. Magoveny-Terrone then shouted more profanities and racial slurs and spit on the floor in front of the customer before walking away.
On Monday, East Haven Police Department released audio recording from three 911 calls from Magoveny-Terrone to the police — including a first call that she accidentally made to the Easton Police Department before speaking to officers from East Haven Police Department. Throughout making the calls, which were published by the New Haven Register, she used hate speech and several racial slurs.
“I was just at ShopRite and I was with my two kids, walking down the front center aisle in front of the register, and I said ‘Oh Jesus Christ’ …. and then these n****rs got up in front of me…” Magoveny-Terrone said on the call.
When the Easton Police Department dispatcher told her she was calling the wrong police department, Magoveny-Terrone quickly replied “Alright go f*** yourself then.”
In the first three minutes of her call to the East Haven Police Department, Magoveny-Terrone said the n-word eleven times, along with other instances of hate speech and racial slurs. She demanded that the other customer in ShopRite be arrested for “assaulting her verbally.”
When the dispatcher told Magoveny-Terrone to file a report at the police station or to meet with an officer, Magoveny-Terrone said “Is it going to be someone who is not racially biased? Is it going to be a white person ’cause I will not meet with a sp** or a n****r because I am way beyond that point.”
On Tuesday, East Haven Police Department released the grocery store’s surveillance video of the incident as well as parking lot surveillance video right before the incident. While the viral video did not show the beginning of the encounter, the surveillance video showed the moments before the woman’s racist tirade. She pushed her cart down the aisle near the registers, and at one point, she turned around to face the two customers and began the confrontation.
In a public statement for Hamden Public Schools published less than a day after the incident, the school district denounced Magoveny-Terrone’s actions, describing how Magoveny-Terrone was seen “repeatedly calling an African-American man the N-word,” and “spitting at the aforementioned African-American male.”
“The language the employee used in the video is in conflict with the values of the Hamden Public School System,” the public statement wrote.“ Someone who will use that sort of language in any setting, whether public or private, is not someone we want anywhere near our children. The employee is separated from service, and we hope that her children will receive the support they need after witnessing such a traumatic event.” The Hamden Public Schools statement also announced that school administrators filed a Department of Children and Families report because Magoveny-Terrone’s children were present during the incident.
According to News 8, New Haven police took Magoveny-Terrone in for an involuntary mental evaluation the weekend of the incident.
Hamden Public Schools Director of Program Innovation, Technology and Communications Karen Kaplan said that there had previously been no indications of which Hamden Public Schools are aware “that would have indicated the hateful and vile demonstrated belief system of this woman.” Kaplan said that Hamden Public Schools would “never knowingly employ someone with these beliefs.”
Goeler told the News that responding to the incident required “thoughtful discussions” from within the school community. He said that Hamden is a community that embraces diversity, and that he is “proud to work in a district where people come together to counter abhorrent acts such as this.”
The East Haven ShopRite branch is located on 745 Foxon Road.
Sammy Westfall | firstname.lastname@example.org