After a heated discussion about a potential walkout to protest gun violence, a white student at Central Cabarrus High School in Concord, North Carolina allegedly said “n****r” in a Snapchat rant against her classmates. When two Black students reposted the video to bring awarenesss to the use of the slur, they were punished by their school administrators.
Carmani Harris-Jackson, a 15-year-old sophomore at CCHS told Buzzfeed News she and her friend Trinity Smith, 16, were given a two-day in-school suspension after sharing the video.
Harris-Jackson believes she was the target of racism, yet was reprimanding for standing up for herself.
"I was a victim in the situation and you all got mad at me for putting it out there," Harris-Jackson told Buzzfeed.
According to Harris-Jackson, the discussion in school about gun reform took place in late February. After the heated debate, Harris-Jackson took to Snapchat and mentioned a potential walkout. As a result, Harris-Jackson was at the center of much criticism by several of her white classmates.
"Someone posted on Snapchat how the walkout would be stupid, how without guns we wouldn't have any of the stuff we have today, and that we were wasting our time walking out," Harris-Jackson said.
She then went back to Snapchat and posted a story that said she was advocating for more restrictions on guns, not a removal of them
Then Harris-Jackson saw a video of white female student at CCHS who said: "They’re putting laws on who can purchase a gun. No, n****r..."
Harris-Jackson felt the slur was directly aimed at her previous Snapchat posts.
"Me and [the girl who said it] were friends before this happened. We had a class together. We would talk together. But as soon as I have a difference in views, you call me a very harmful and offensive racial slur? She said it in a joking manner, but there are boundaries of things you joke about and that's not one of the things you joke about it," Harris-Jackson told Buzzfeed.
After seeing the video, Harris-Jackson and her best friend Trinity Smith, who is also a CCHS sophomore, reposted the video on their Facebook and Twitter pages. The posts went viral and were shared by other CCHS students. Eventually, the administration was made aware of the videos and allegedly took action.
Four students told BuzzFeed News the two white girls — the one who said “n****r” and the one who recorded it — were given out-of-school suspensions; however, Communications Director for Cabarrus County Schools Ronnye Boone did not confirm or deny the suspensions.
Additionally, Smith and Harris-Jackson were asked to remove the video from their accounts by school officials. Smith said she only agreed to remove the video after school authorities assured her she would not be punished
The next day, Smith and Harris-Jackson were handed two days of in-school suspension for creating a "disruptive environment."
"I know for a fact if I hadn't posted it and cause a 'disruption,' you would haven't cared as much, you all would have swept it under the rug," Harris-Jackson told Buzzfeed.
When he was asked about the suspensions, Boone released the following statement:
"Cabarrus County Schools seeks to provide a safe, inviting and motivating learning environment for all of our students. Racial prejudice and insensitivity have no place in our classrooms or on our campuses
"We investigate all claims and use the provisions outlined in Board Policy to determine disciplinary action.”
As a result of the incident, Smith said she'd been "pretty much" discouraged to involve herself in any planned protests or walkouts at her school.
"As much as I want to do something to represent Parkland, everything the school is trying to do is for publicity and I don't want to participate in that," Harris-Jackson told Buzzfeed. "They don't have the right idea about it and I refuse to take a picture with a banner just so my principal can say he 'tried' to do something.”
(Photo: Thomas Barwick/Getty Images)