‘You need to go back to the cotton farm,’ a young white boy said to Jordan Jackson, 8, on a playground Nov. 14. as Jackson and his younger sister waited for their parents at Spanish Lake Primary School in Geismar, Louisiana. The racist outburst came after Jordan, who is an honor student and athlete, asked one of the three children — one of whom was 13 and all of whom were white and the children of teachers — to stop throwing mulch at him and his 4-year-old sister, J’Niaha. Jordan was subsequently pushed down multiple times and body slammed at least twice, suffering a broken arm and a concussion, which has now evolved into post-concussion syndrome.
Cris Colbert, Jordan and J’Niaha Jackson’s uncle, has established a GoFundMe page meant to help offset the cost of Jordan’s ever-growing medical bills, and in his retelling of the story used an article by the Weekly Citizen written by Leslie D. Rose.
“My son, who understands the connotation of that statement because we’ve had those conversations before, was appalled, so he said, ‘That’s racist,'” Rose wrote, relating the response of Colbert’s sister, Alana Jackson. “The child responded ‘Why do you think it’s so racist? You do need to go back to the cotton farm.’ So at that point, my son began to try to defend himself because the 13-year-old was pushing him down and calling him a baby.”
Rose also notes how the violent incident ended: “A fifth-grade student, who is said to have witnessed the entire incident, walked Jordan to the classroom where his mother was and informed her of the events. Though there were no adult witnesses to the incident, surveillance footage is available and is being used by the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office for their investigation.”
The next day, Alana Jackson, who also is a teacher in the community, was called to the school and looked forward to a conference about the incident, Rose writes. He goes on to say that the principal at Jordan’s school was very apologetic regarding the incident but denied any liability on behalf of the school since the altercation happened after school hours and because one of the students involved was not a student at the school.
Alana Jackson then contacted the Sheriff’s Office for help. The officer she spoke to told her that the school was absolutely responsible, and that she should present Jordan’s medical bills to the school. She returned to the school with the bills, and once again, the school denied responsibility. Later that day, doctors informed Alana Jackson and her husband, George, of the extent of Jordan’s physical injuries.
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According to the updates Colbert has been writing on the GoFundMe page, Jordan has been to the emergency room three times since the altercation took place, “the last two of which have been for extreme headaches, nausea and dizziness. Doctors have diagnosed him with post-concussion syndrome. It’s a set of symptoms that may continue for weeks, months or a year or more after a concussion.”
Jordan’s medical bills are not the only reason Colbert was driven to make the GoFundMe on his sister’s behalf. The symptoms that Jordan has been having since the incident range from migraines to mood swings and dizziness, and in their quest to provide their son with the mental and emotional support he needs, George and Alana have been alternating taking off work to be home with Jordan, who cannot return to school yet.
Colbert underscores that, though help is absolutely needed, his sister is hesitant to accept this kind of assistance: “She isn’t used to asking for help and doesn’t want people to feel this is about making money off of what happened.” He says she told him, “If I have to go broke to not cloud the issue, then so be it.”
Colbert and Jackson say that if their donations exceed the goal, they will donate the rest to charity. Thus far, of the $5,000 goal, $17,836 has been raised by 546 people in three days.