A North Carolina teen said she was in the middle of explaining why the N-word is so offensive when a white classmate hurled a racist insult at her.
Kaliya Hill, a junior at Cabarrus Central High School, was giving a presentation in English class when a male student whispered the comment, then repeated it for everyone to hear, local station Fox 46 reported.
“My argument was that we were taken from our country and that our names were changed and the ‘n-word’ was used to degrade us of our worth,” Hill explained, recalling the moment before she was rudely interrupted.
“The white student said, ‘go back,’ ” she said. “He whispered it like no one was supposed to hear it. Everybody stopped and asked him to say it again. He said, ‘go back.’ ”
That student was ultimately punished with one day of out-of-school suspension, according to a disciplinary note from the school. However, Hill and her parents are dissatisfied with the punishment and feel administrators took long to address the issue. The school waited until five days after the incident to suspend the student, according to the station.
A district spokesperson declined to comment on how it’s handling incidents of racism at Central Cabarrus High. Earlier this month, two Black students at the same school were suspended after sharing a Snapchat video of a white classmate using a racial slur.
“I would like for the school to get some diverse training,” Hill’s mother, Kenya McGriff, told Fox 46. “For the staff members, the administrators, and then they can teach the students also. I want everyone to speak up. Stop being quiet about the situation. Racism exists.”
As for Hill, she wants to shed light on the hurtful incident so it doesn’t happen again.
“I’m a cheerleader, I run track, I support the school,” the teen said. “In the meantime, I’m feeling this way inside; that I am being looked upon as different when I’m like everybody else … It hurt because you don’t like to think that racism is still here and you don’t think it’s going to happen to you, but it did.”
The father of the suspended student told Fox 46 that his son has received threats and just wants things to blow over.