A Black high school student was suspended for retaliating against a bully who called him the N-word.
The son of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, defense attorney Blaine Jones was sitting down for lunch last week when a white student began harassing him. According to Penn Live, the 15-year-old South Fayette Township High School student was repeatedly called the N-word.
On May 1, the victim went to sit down at a lunch table where his friends and the bully were. Within a few minutes, the white student reportedly started to call Jones' son the slur.
“The kid looked up at him and said, ‘N****r,’” Jones told Yahoo Lifestyle. “My son said, ‘What did you say to me?’ and the kid repeated the word, saying, ‘What are you going to do about it?’”
Video footage from the confrontation captured the 15-year-old putting the bully into a chokehold. A teacher had to intervene to get both students to stop fighting. Initial reports on the incident suggested Jones' son was the only person involved punished.
Yahoo Lifestyle reports the high school suspended the victim and the bully for three days. The victim is a star student-athlete who plays volleyball and has never been known as a troublemaker, indicated by his attorney father.
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South Fayette Township Superintendent Kenneth Lockette released a statement last week confirming the students were reprimanded.
"The safety and well-being of all our students is our number-one priority, and we take all incidents that violate our policies seriously," the statement read. "Upon becoming aware of yesterday’s incident, our administration immediately investigated. Based on the findings, both students have been disciplined and are facing the consequences of their actions according to our policies. We cannot discuss the details of the incident or related punishment.”
The most recent racial incident was not the first. The attorney told Yahoo the same bully harassed an Asian student about the shape of their eyes. In a previous instance, the bully reportedly called another Black student a "monkey."
Jones and his wife met with district officials last Thursday to discuss the possibility of the school providing diversity training for staff and students. They believe the anti-bullying codes in place aren't effective and won't prevent racial incidents in the future.
“Considering that my son was called the N-word last year by another student — for which no action was taken by the school — and this kid’s history of harassment, I expected due process for my child,” Jones told Yahoo. “But they just reiterated language from the handbook about behavior codes.”
The school has yet to decide on whether or not the training will be instituted. Jones' son is expected to return to school Monday. In the meantime, the family is deliberating pursuing legal action, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“Bullies are allowed to thrive, unchecked and African American students are suffering in silence,” Jones said in his talk with Yahoo.
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