According to Bangor School Superintendent Betsy Webb, a fifth-grade substitute teacher initiated a discussion about the "n-word" after a student asked about the word.
A parent of one of the students said that the conversation began after a student came across the word in a book they brought from home.
Webb said a couple of the students let the classroom support person know why the discussion was making them uncomfortable.
The parent said that an African American student in the class was asked to stand in the classroom while the other students looked up the definition of the "n-word."
The superintendent and the parent agree the substitute teacher told the students it was an inappropriate and disrespectful word.
Webb praised the students who let other adults know about the situation.
The parent who spoke with ABC 7/FOX 22 said it did not appear as though any malice was involved in the exercise but rather that it showed a lack of common sense.
Webb said the incident remains under investigation.