North Carolina students are protesting a Black football player’s suspension for an altercation with a white student that followed months of racist bullying.
Wake Forest High students took to the school’s hallways Monday, March 6, chanting, “Bring Micah back!” prompting school officials to reportedly finally punish the other student, something they had failed to do initially. The students also launched a Change.org petition supporting Micah Speed that has gotten more than 30,000 signatures in four days.
Speed, who is Black, got into a confrontation Thursday, March 2, with the other student, who is white. A viral Instagram video showed the 15-year-old sophomore pulling the verbal assailant down, leading the white student to call Speed a “Black piece of s—.”
Speed defended his actions to WTVD, saying the bully had been making racist comments for two months, including threats to kill his family.
“I want to say I’m not a violent person. That’s not who I am,” Speed tells the ABC station. “Everybody who’s known me and that knows me currently knows that I try to avoid confrontation and I usually laugh things off. But, I was just pushed over the breaking point.”
Speed was given a 10-day suspension, which was reduced to five days Monday, March 6, as school officials investigated the incident. However, the other student was not punished initially.
Speed’s mother, Yolanda Speed, told WTVD that her son reported the issues to a teacher three times. A Wake County Public School spokesperson said the school reviewed Micah Speed’s reports but couldn’t say what, if anything, was done about it.
“Everything could have been avoided,” Yolanda Speed says. “And no one was listening.”
Yolanda Speed told The News & Observer she was informed Monday that the school had punished the other pupil, but she was not given any details.
Micha Speed is due to return to school Friday, March 10, but his mother told WNCN he may end up transferring to another school.