Oct 16, 2023
Black Student Called 'Monkey' & Threatened With Makeshift Whip, Parents Sue
- 5 minutes
Another institution letting down children. In Massachusetts, after enduring taunts and assaults for more than a year, a 13 year old's parents are now taking action, standing up, hoping to put an end to the abuse this 13 year old has suffered as a student at Concord Middle School. [00:00:21] Emmy Odunze, the child's father on the left, has reported his son's mistreatment by classmates. On three separate occasions, he reported this to school officials. However, despite assurances from the school's principal, [00:00:39] Justin Cameron, on the right about disciplinary action, no meaningful resolution has occurred, according to the parents. Let me give you details of the abuse and you conclude yourself. The most recent incident transpired when the teen's participation in a football [00:00:57] game with other kids. Look, that's the monkey in the middle, end quote. A white child yelled to his friend, according to the Boston Globe. The taunting quickly escalated when the boy grabbed a makeshift whip and [00:01:12] allegedly said, hey, let's whip Odunze's son because he's black. The father states that the ringleader of the bigotry was still present at school on Friday, October 6. According to him, the principal mentioned that the child was in school but [00:01:31] was facing an in-school suspension. One of the first acts of violence Odunze's son endured occurred when a white girl at the school slapped him across the face, [00:01:47] just a day after actor Will Smith assaulted Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards, the family told the Globe. The young man's father, who has since retained legal counsel, [00:02:03] believes this incident was also racially motivated. Not only has the family secured a lawyer, but the family has filed reports with the Concord Police Department. So let me give you the response from the school system. The school's spokesperson, Thomas Lucey, made a statement about the radicalized [00:02:23] violence on campus, but was careful not to address the specific case in question. Instead, the representative submitted links to the school's five-year strategic plan and a plan for diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and anti-racism for the academic community. [00:02:39] The third part of the plan aims to foster an, quote, inclusive culture through regular teaching development and celebrating diverse cultures. So let me give you some past incidents. Nevertheless, the schools have faced a similar situation previously. [00:02:56] So in 2020, black parents of Concord's METCO Families Collective urged officials to address racial injustices their children faced on campus. One METCO mom, Akia Obas, said at a March 2022 [00:03:11] Concord-Carlisle Joint School Committee Meeting, that there are microaggressions the black students feel that they do not understand. So here's the reality. When that parent went to the school, assuming that discipline did occur because [00:03:31] of the severe nature of this bullying, he sees the student at the school, principal says, well, listen, what else do you want us to do? He is facing in-school suspension. They would not deal with another type of bullying incident in that way. [00:03:50] Typically, they would in fact, suspend the student, physically expel the student, place the student in alternative learning away from that campus. [00:04:06] But in this case, they don't do that. Well, that's called culture. That's culture. And the reason why the school system has everything right on paper, but everything wrong in execution is because of culture. You can say the right thing on your policy, and they actually do. [00:04:23] Their policy seems to be robust, inclusive. They have a plan, a protocol, a strategy. They have a strategy for students, a strategy for teachers, a strategy for principals. But they have no strategy to change the culture, which means you gotta change the people. There are individuals there who will pass your test. [00:04:39] There are people there who have learned how to check the right boxes on something you place on paper. But when it comes to the execution and the follow through, they are operating by the lens of culture. So you cannot talk transform without talking transfer. [00:04:57] All right, David, thoughts here. >> Speaker 2: I'm so glad that you talk about the culture of the school, because I think if it's one incident, it's just one isolated incident, then fine, that's a one off, and somebody made a lapse in judgment or there was a mistake made. But when this happens over, and over, and over again, there is a pattern. [00:05:14] And patterns are created because of the culture of the people who are running the school, because of how they're enforcing or not enforcing things. And every time I see a sort of pattern of this, it just blows my mind. I mean, they have been warned about this before. They've been asked to deal with this. They have the right policies, as you point out, but for some reason, [00:05:32] they can't execute, and try to make sure that the school is safe, and a learning environment for everybody. That's a big problem. >> Speaker 1: That's right. It takes courage sometimes to change a culture of a thing.
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