A Pittsburgh defense attorney is outraged after his son was suspended from school for retaliating against a bully who called him the N-word.
Now, Blaine Jones and his wife say they’re considering legal action against the South Fayette Township School District and accuse officials of failing to protect their son against racism and bullying.
“As a black person in America, racism is what you deal with,” Jones told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “You ignore the ignorance, ignore the evil, ignore the hate and be a good person.”
The attorney’s 15-year-old son, a student at South Fayette Township High School in Allegheny County, took a less passive approach, however, when a white student allegedly called him a racial slur early last week during lunch period. Jones said just as his son started to sit at the table, the other student put his hands on his own head and called him the N-word.
“So then my son went around the table. He asked him, one more time, what did you say?,” Jones said, recalling his son’s account of the incident. “And the young man said to my son, ‘I called you the N-word, what are you going to do about it?’ ”
“So that’s when my son defended himself and began to choke this young man and then they started fighting,” he explained.
Jones and his wife met with both the principal and superintendent late last week following the cafeteria melee and said they expected the punishment on the two students to be “fair and equitable and commensurate with what happened,” according to the Post-Gazette.
To their surprise, it was their son who was issued a three-day suspension for the fight while it was unclear if the other young man was disciplined at all.
“They’re supposed to protect my son,” said Jones. “They have failed my son. Instead of protecting my son against verbal bullying, against racism, they suspended him for three days.”
The frustrated father later learned that both boys had in fact been punished with suspensions, although he said he’s still dissatisfied with the school’s handling of the incident.
The defense attorney told Yahoo Lifestyle that his son has faced racial harassment from other students in the past and that school officials did nothing about it.
“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 said. “But they just reiterated language from the handbook about behavior codes.”
He went on to accuse the suburban Pittsburgh school, where just 3 percent of the student body is Black, of tolerating racism.
“I have dozens of testimonies from students who have been targets of racism,” Jones added.. “Bullies are allowed to thrive, unchecked and African-American students are suffering in silence.”
South Fayette Township School District superintendent Kenneth F. Lockett, confirmed in a statement last week that both young men were disciplined according to district policy, but remained tight-lipped on details regarding the white student’s punishment, the Post-Gazette reported.
“The safety and well-being of all our students is our No. 1 priority, and we take all incidents that violate our policies seriously,” Lockette said.
Jones and his wife are now threatening legal action if school administrators won’t address what they consider “systemic racism” at the school.