One family might take legal action against a Denver-area school district after discovering a group chat filled with dozens of middle schoolers sending each other racial slurs, hate speech, and discriminatory content that drove a 14-year-old boy from the school and his family from the town entirely.
The Denver Post covered the story about Jeramiah Ganzy, a former Castle Rock Middle School student. He reported via email to the Douglas County School District in March that he had been added to a group chat of about 80 students who exchanged messages threatening to shoot Black people and even calling for another Holocaust to rid the world of Black people.
Jeramiah told news outlets that he’d been the target of discriminatory treatment at the school from students and even a staff member who questioned him about where he got a water bottle in his possession and asked how he could afford it.
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“There had been a lot of bullying of people calling me a monkey and a cotton picker,” Jeramiah told The Post. “I wanted something to happen. I sent the email in anger and frustration, hoping to get a response — and I didn’t.”
After weeks of waiting, Jeramiah never received a response from the school district, so he told his mother, Lacey Ganzy, about the group chat, and she took the issue straight to the middle school and the school district in April.
“It was disgusting,” Lacey Ganzy said. “These were 12- and 13-year-old children.”
Castle Rock administrators responded to the mother’s complaints by suspending a student for five days who advocated for a second Holocaust. However, a second student, who threatened to shoot Black people, had not been suspended, according to Castle Rock News Press.
Once students discovered Jeramiah told school officials, his mother said they threatened to lynch him.
“He can never go back to these schools,” she said. “They’re talking about lynching my son. I am not sending him back there. He is someone who thrives on education and is nominated for awards and is in AP classes. … The options are for him to be homeschooled or move out of town. We are looking to get out of Castle Rock as quickly as possible. We do not feel safe. I grew up here, and I ran out of town because my family decided to speak up about something that is not right.”
The family never received an official response to their complaints from the school district until after Jeramiah, alongside his mother and two sisters, went before the school board to report their experiences with discrimination in the district.
“I was called a [racial slur] on the bus by multiple different students,” said Nevaeh Ganzy. “Being myself has not only brought me racial discrimination, but it has put me in a position where I was being targeted for something I can’t control.”
Lacey Ganzy also filed a police report. The Castle Rock Police Department stated that it sent the report to the district attorney’s office after investigating the matter.
Ganzy stated that she wants the district to audit its hate speech policies and create a new victims’ advocate, especially to take care of students of color.
DCSD spokeswoman Paula Hans released a statement about these incidents, which stated, in part: “It is our goal to take care of each and every one of our students in our district. We appreciate the Ganzy family bringing their concerns to us so we can make sure our system is addressing their needs.”
The Ganzys are now exploring legal options, with the possibility of filing a civil rights claim.
“Douglas County School District has a racism problem,” the family’s attorney, Iris Halpern, said. “This racist message and culture is coming from the top down. It’s the school district, its leadership and parents and adults. Students don’t learn white supremacy in a vacuum.”
One thought on “‘It’s Disgusting’: Colorado Teen Complained About Classmates’ Threats of Violence Against Black People. The District Did Little to Help. He Had to Leave Town.”
I concur that this has to be in the culture of the system