Students at a Kansas high school are outraged by the administration’s response to a fistfight between two students, a Black female and White male, saying that the school has a history of condoning racism against Black students.
The Kansas City Defender reported that the girl, identified as “Bre,” suffered a broken nose during the hallway brawl at Shawnee Mission East High School and was hospitalized. The male student, heard on video spewing the N-word, had no reported injuries. Administrators suspended both students.
The students are demanding justice for Bre, saying suspending Bre for defending herself was unfair. They staged a school walkout Monday (Nov. 27) to demand change.
The Defender posted a video that shows what led up to the scuffle. In the footage, Bre is in an apparent heated argument with two White female students for using racial slurs and calling Black students “slaves,” according to the news outlet.
They walked away, but the tension remained.
A second video shows what happened next as the two girls retreat, and Bre yells her final words in the dispute. The male student, who was standing near the White female students during the verbal argument, walks away with the White females.
As he walks away, he’s heard saying to Bre, “Shut the [explictive] up.” Bre demanded to know who said that. He turns while hurling the N-word, and charges toward Bre. The two of them exchange punches.
The Defender interviewed students who were furious – but not surprised – by the school administration’s response to what they viewed as a hate crime. They said
school administrators have a pattern of failing to discipline racist behavior and downplaying racist incidents.
They said the administration displayed its apathy in a letter to parents about the fight.
“As a school and a community, we know that in order for students to learn, they must first feel safe and supported. Shawnee Mission East teachers, administrators, and staff will continue to do our absolute best to help every student who enters our school feel safe and supported so they can be at their very best…the words we use matter. Racially charged language, insults, and slurs will not be tolerated in our school…,” the letter stated, according to The Defender.
“This was a serious attack… a textbook hate crime,” a student named Charlize told the news outlet.
“There were so many warning signs. It’s been going on for so long. Most of the people involved are seniors or upperclassmen. Its been going on for so long. We’ve reported it and talked about it but nothing has happened.”
Charlize and another student named Jaxton said they feel unsafe at school. Jaxton said, “Everyone is equally frustrated and angry. It should have never gotten to this point. They are very quiet about it. The administrators won’t voice that this is wrong. Racist students never get in serious trouble. We’re tired of trying to confide in people and administrators who aren’t doing anything for us and won’t help us.”
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