Tiger's kindergarten teacher demands apology

Updated: 2010-04-03 11:47
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LOS ANGELES - Tiger Woods' kindergarten teacher demanded an apology on Friday from the embattled golfer for "false accusations of physical and racial abuse".

Woods contended in a 2005 book that he was harassed and racially taunted on his first day of school, "and the teacher really didn't do much of anything."

"The accusations against me were brought up again when Tiger's infidelities came to light," Maureen Decker told reporters here.

Decker said she was "shocked, saddened and disappointed" by what she called Woods' "false accusations of physical and racial abuse on his first day of school in my kindergarten class."

"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 with her attorney, Gloria Allred.

Decker, 69, said she wants a private and public apology from Woods.

Decker was Woods' kindergarten teacher at Cerritos Elementary School in Anaheim of Los Angeles in 1981-82.

In the Charles Barkley book "Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man?," Woods is quoted as saying: "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 the word (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.

"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."

Allred, who also represented two of Woods' alleged mistresses, said there was no record of any such occurrence, noting that 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 apologize to Ms. Decker," Allred said.

Woods took a hiatus from golf when news broke about his various extra-marital affairs. He could not be reached for comment.