The mother of an African-American student whose confrontation with a white classmate went viral says the Wake County school system is failing to respond to discrimination against minority students.
Wake received national attention after a video was posted online showing Micah Speed, 15, pulling a classmate at Wake Forest High School to the floor twice on March 2, including once after being called a “black piece of (expletive).” Speed, who was suspended for five days, has said his actions were triggered by months of racial harassment and a death threat from the student that were not dealt with by the school.
Yolanda Speed, Micah’s mother, said at Tuesday’s school board board meeting that teachers are not following school board policy 1720, which requires employees to report any cases of discrimination, harassment or bullying. Micah has charged that a teacher, not the one in the viral video who broke up the fight, ignored months of racist comments made by the other student.
“We see that our black, brown and poor children are the ones being accused of different things just because they’re the ones being discriminated against,” Yolanda Speed said. “There’s something wrong with the culture of our Wake County Public Schools and we are ignoring the fact that it is becoming a culture.”
Yolanda Speed then read from the Bible verse Matthew 18:6 which says “but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
“We are losing our children and if we lose them to what’s happening in this society today, there’s nothing to look forward to,” Yolanda Speed said. “There is no future. You only exist because of them, and so do I.
“So if we lose our babies, there’s going to be a problem. We all will drown into the depths of the sea. That is what I want you to understand and make some decisions to come up with a solution.”
The Wake Forest High video was one of two racially charged videos that rocked the Wake County school system in March.
In the other video, three Leesville Road Middle School students made derogatory remarks about different racial and ethnic groups and chanted “KKK, KKK.” School officials have said the students “received appropriate disciplinary action.”
The videos prompted a discussion among all of Wake’s principals and a call by school leaders for a “courageous conversation about race” in the community. School administrators laid out a plan that includes more racial equity training, establishment of school-based equity teams and expansion of initiatives that help African-American and Latino students.