A Hopewell, New Jersey boy was suspended from school last week after his online torment of fellow students came to light.
The 16-year-old student took to SnapChat to launch racist tyraids to fellow students at his school. The messages, sent through the popular app designed to delete posts after 24 hours, were directed toward students of color at his school referred to "lynching" and singled one student out in particular. One post to the user profile "Jeffurry" called an African American student, Aikewe Kemit, a "monkey".
The full story came in from the New Jersey Trentonian:
"Hopewell Valley Regional School District Superintendent Thomas Smith in a letter to parents this week acknowledged that a Hopewell Valley Central High School student posted “disturbing and hurtful” messages on social media while outside of school.
Hopewell Township Police is involved with the investigation of the posts that included “several CHS students,” the superintendent said, promising the school district will improve race relations at the mostly white school, which was previously the focus of racial discord over a decision to serve stereotypical foods to honor Black History Month.
“The actions of this student do not reflect the values of our district or our community,” Smith, who couldn’t immediately be reached for comment, wrote in the letter. “The decision by a student to post these disturbing and hurtful images underscores the need for us to continue our efforts to improve equity and cultural competency in our schools, and our community. … We are committed to working collaboratively to raise awareness so incidents like this do not occur again.”
While the letter didn’t name the students who were involved in sending or receiving the hateful Snapchat messages, the father whose son was “targeted” by the racially offensive posts identified the sender as a 16-year-old junior at Hopewell Valley Central High School.
Baye Kemit, who spoke with The Trentonian by phone from Atlanta, said his son Azikiwe Kemit, also a junior at the township high school, didn’t directly receive the messages from the teen who posted it.
But Azikiwe learned the kid who posted it was talking about him to others over Snapchat when another student who received the messages forwarded them to him, his father said.
“When you’re a young black man, you just have to develop thick skin,” Baye Kemit said about how his son is dealing with the situation. “He’s taking it all in stride. He wants to get this information out. He feels the school sweeps it under the carpet.”
Baye Kemit, Azikiwe's father, said he has been contacted by school district officials who urged him to “tone down the tenor” of his Facebook posts after, understandably, becoming enraged about the situation.
Of course the other boy's parents are denying that their son is a racist and meant any harm by making these posts. Azikiwe's parents have filed charges with the local police department on the grounds that they consider this to be cyberbullying, and we believe it is too!
Jonette Smart, president of the NAACP in Trenton, NJ says “It’s something we’re not going to tolerate. It’s not a joke. We really have to start talking about the racial issues and why does it seem to be coming out more and more today. We shouldn’t be at the level of racial disharmony that we face today. Instead of it getting better, it’s becoming worse."
In what world do people get to taunt other's, whether in person or on the internet, and it's not considered some form of harassment? Isn't this what Melania Trump is speaking out against? Children are literally killing themselves every week over this very type of bullying and harassment and it has to stop today!