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Tiger Woods' teacher wants apology for racism charges

world Updated: Apr 03, 2010 13:12 IST

Golfer Tiger Woods' kindergarten teacher is demanding an apology from him after charges of racial abuse during his school days "shocked, saddened and disappointed" her, a media report said on Saturday.

Maureen Decker, 69, who was Woods' kindergarten teacher at Cerritos Elementary School in the Anaheim area in Los Angeles in 1981-82, demanded an apology on Friday from the golfer for "false accusations of physical and racial abuse," Xinhua news agency reported.

Woods had said in a book that he was harassed and racially taunted on his first day of school, "and the teacher really didn't do much of anything."

"I became aware of my racial identity on my first day of school, on my first day of kindergarten. A group of sixth graders tied me to a tree, spray-painted 'N----' (a racial epithet) on me, and threw rocks at me. That was my first day of school. And the teacher really didn't do much of anything," Woods was quoted as saying in the book "Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man?" by Charles Barkley.

"I used to live across the street from the school and kind of down the way a little bit. The teacher said, 'Okay, just go home.' So I had to outrun all these kids going home, which I was able to do. It was certainly an eye-opening experience, you know, being five years old. We were the only minority family in all of Cypress, California," he said.

Decker said she was "shocked, saddened and disappointed" by Woods' accusations, which were brought up again when his infidelities came to light.

"My friends and relatives started reminding me of how he slandered me and the school. I am still feeling the stress of the allegations. I have tried numerous times to get through to Tiger or his representatives to ask for an explanation and an apology, but no one ever returned my calls," Decker said at a news conference along with her attorney, Gloria Allred.

Allred, who also represents two of Woods' alleged mistresses, said neither Woods nor his parents ever reported the alleged attack.

"Under the circumstances where a dedicated kindergarten teacher has been unfairly slandered and maligned for motives that can only be speculated about, we think it is time for Tiger Woods to do the right thing, which would be to retract his statement and apologise to Ms Decker," Allred said.