Parents and students of a Pennsylvania high school are up in arms over how the district chose to discipline two students following a physical altercation.
A white male student at Mars Area High School in Mars, Pa. drew the ire of one of the school’s few Black students after he reportedly called him the N-word on several occasions, CBS Pittsburgh reported. Sources say a fight broke out when classmates of the Black student confronted the white teen, who ultimately wound up in the hospital.
What has parents upset is the fact that the Black student was suspended for five days for throwing the first punch while the white student has yet to face any discipline for throwing around a racial slur.
“I think kids, I mean, when they get bullied so much they just get to the point where they feel nothing is being done, they have to take matters into their own hands,” parent Carlee Valiknac told the news station. “…I thought it was ridiculous that nothing was done ahead of time because it could’ve been prevented, all of the stuff that went down because it was not just a one-time thing with him.”
Tempers reached a fever pitch at a school board meeting Tuesday night where students and parents called on district leaders to address the alleged racist bullying they claim has been happening for some time. Many parents said their children have been victims racial slurs, bullying and harassment and slammed the district for ignoring these issues until now.
“My daughter today took sun screen in because she didn’t want to get darker because kids in the class say to her, ‘You’re already dark,’ ” one mother who attended the meeting said.
“The N word. The N word repeatedly and it went on for more than five minutes before the teacher shut it down,” a second mother said.
Mars School Superintendent Wes Shipley said he couldn’t discuss the most recent incident because it’s still being investigated. However, district leaders assured parents that an anti-bullying program is in the works and that there’ll also be sensitivity training.
This was no consolation to some parents who felt the Black student was punished unfairly.
“… We need to have something in the handbooks to address whether or not there are going to be repercussions for those that make offensive terms toward other people of other nationalities or races,” said parent Vanessa Johnson.