A Black Oregon City, Oregon, high school student has discovered racially charge notes in her binder for over the past two weeks this November.
Joy Simmons, 15, has not been back to Clackamas Academy of Industrial Sciences since finding a second note commanding her to go back to Africa. In an exclusive with Oregon’s KATU 2 News, Simmons said that when she was a preparing for an exam, she found the initial note. She also told the outlet that she is the only Black student attending the school.
“I was in my class getting ready for a test and I opened my binder to get some supplies,” Simmons recalls. “And I saw a note [that] had the N-word on it and I immediately went to the office and called my mom. She came in and talked to the principal.”
But that was not the end of the racialized taunting and harassment. A week before Thanksgiving, Simmons was attempting to finish some homework when a second note fell out of her binder.
“It said ‘Go back to Africa, [N-word],'” she tells reporters.
Since the incidents occurred, Simmons’ mother has recruited the assistance of a local activist to force the school district’s hand. Teressa Raiford, lead organizer of the civil rights group Don’t Shoot Portland told reporters that she wants a federal agency to get involved and investigate the matter.
“We can’t have the luxury of taking these issues and putting them on the back burner,” Raiford tells KATU. “We see with the Trump presidency that racism is alive and well.”
Lastly, KATU received a statement from the Oregon City School District informing the outlet that there is an investigation underway. Disciplinary action regarding the students involved cannot be released as the investigation is pending, the statement read.
“Oregon City School District does not tolerate harassment or intimidation of any kind. We strive to create and sustain a safe and welcoming environment for all students. Any report of discrimination or intimidation is promptly investigated in compliance with Oregon law and board policy and in cooperation with the appropriate students and/or family,” the statement read.
after finding out that the incidents will be investigated.