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Virginia School Investigates After Video Showing Student Throwing Pencils In Black Girl’s Hair


A Virginia mother is demanding action from school leaders after a video on social media showed her daughter being bullied by classmates over her hair.

Darlene Taylor said she learned of the incident after her son showed her a Snapchat video of her daughter, Genesee Taylor, in class at Brentsville District High School as two students threw pencils at her hair and laughed when it got caught. Taylor took to Facebook to share her outrage over the incident and the school’s tepid response.

“Nothing was done to discipline the two cheerleaders involved, so I wanted help raise awareness about diversity, treating others the way you’d want to be treated (to include disciplinary procedures), and bullying,” the mother wrote. “This [has] happened three times in a week. This action was planned.”

“My daughter, like many other females of color (including myself) struggles with her hair,” she added. “This incident certainly didn’t help boost her confidence and self-esteem.”

Taylor said she and her husband had planned to meet with the assistant principal Monday, Oct. 9, but canceled after deciding to take the issue straight to the Prince William County school board. In that meeting, the parents were told the incident was under investigation but weren’t given any more details on the matter.

Taylor said both her son and daughter are being transferred to another school at their request. In light of the incident, she and her husband also demanded that the students involved be disciplined and that the school’s administration be investigated.

“They say this investigation is for my daughter but there have been so many people reaching out to me saying, ‘hey, this [also] happened to my daughter at that school,’ ” Taylor told Atlanta Black Star. “So, we’re hoping they’re not just investigating my daughter’s incident but that they’re also going to look into how the administration handled other [such incidents] of students who’ve gone to that school.”

In a letter posted to the school’s website over the weekend, Principal Katherine Bolluyt-Meints said school officials were made aware of the video and are actively investigating.

“I wish to express my deepest regret to the Brentsville community in relation to the [incident],” Meints wrote. “We work every day to achieve high standards of behavior from
our students and staff. When this expectation is not met, we take it seriously. It’s important to all that Brentsville District High School be a good place to learn and grow.”

Irene Cromer, the supervisor of community relations for Prince William County Schools, said the privacy of students is of the utmost importance, so school administrators have declined to discuss those involved and how the school is handling the situation. Discipline issues will also be kept confidential, she said.

As for Taylor, she feels her daughter, who is only one of two Black students in her class, did a good job by not reacting because she probably would have gotten in trouble. She noted, however, that she and her husband teach their children to defend themselves.

In addition to requesting that her children be transferred and the students involved be disciplined, Taylor suggested that diversity training be implemented for grades K-12 because not everyone is taught at home how to treat those who are different from them.

“If they’re at school learning about it, at least they have that,” she said. “And then they’re able to put that training into play because they’re at school with students with other differences.”

The school board will hold a regularly scheduled meeting on Oct. 18, during which parents and concerned residents will have an opportunity to voice their opinions on the recent incident.

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