An African-American student at a North Carolina high school was suspended after he got into a physical altercation with a white student who hurled racial slurs at him.
A video posted on Instagram by user Tyler Goodell, who said he is a Wake Forest High School student, showed a black student grabbing a white student by his backpack and hurling him to a ground. Goddell said the black student was his friend named Micah Speed, who only reacted against the racial abuse he had been experiencing for months at school.
In the video, the white student, Larry Walsh, can quite clearly be heard calling 15-year-old Speed "f***** black piece of s***.” Someone also says, “Yo, n****” before the altercation happened.
When Speed reacted physically, a teacher can be seen quickly breaking up the brawl. But even she is not sympathetic to Speed, stating the white student only “used words.” However, in this time of racial hatred, it’s pretty strange to think the teacher does not think the use of the slurs merits punishment.
Speed was suspended for 10 days for his behavior, but he told ABC11 the punishment has now been shortened to five days. As for Walsh, there is no news if he was punished for his alleged racially charged language.
Speed later said he did not want people to think he is a violent person.
"I want to say I'm not a violent person. That's not who I am ... Everybody who's known me and that knows me currently knows that I try to avoid confrontation and I usually laugh things off, but I was just pushed over the breaking point," he said.
He also explained he has been target of racism for months — in fact, his white schoolmate reportedly went as far as threatening to kill Speed's family — but the school’s staff and administration kept turning a blind eye.
“He said things like ... I need to name my son ‘Convict’ and ‘Crackhead’ ... because that's what they'll grow up to be,” Speed said. “He threw the N-word around very loosely, said things that I looked like I bathed in coffee beans and dirt.”
It seems Walsh was well-versed in the historical background and stereotype associated with black people but not the fact that calling someone the n-word or discriminating against them on the basis of their skin color is unacceptable. And so does the teacher who intervened in the fight but excused Walsh’s slurs as just “words.”
Speed’s mom, Yolanda, said she moved to the city to have a better life for her kids but she did not account for such racism.
“How am I going to send my son back to Wake Forest is what I want to know…because I’m sending him back to the shooting range is what I’m doing. So I’m totally clueless I don’t know what to do,” she said.
The principal of the school released this statement after watching the video.
“I am calling to inform you of a video that has circulated involving Wake Forest High School students.
“School administrators became aware of the video posting shortly after it was posted Friday and we are continuing to investigate the situation.
“I would like to take this opportunity to encourage your children to not share rumors. If your child has information to share, they should contact an administrator directly.
“We strive each day to create a positive learning environment and take every measure to ensure the safety of our students. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our front office at 919-554-8611. Thank you for your continued support of our school.”
Speed's mother also had a meeting with school administration after students protested after every period to show their support to the African-American student and asked the administration to place him back in the school.
Here's video from the protests today at Wake Forest High School pic.twitter.com/7LCtA5bVoe— aj janavel (@ajjanavelnews) March 6, 2017
Wake Forest High students rally in support of suspended classmate https://t.co/RLf8JOoGeU— We Resist (@ProtestWatch) March 6, 2017
Wake Forest is a TERRIBLE High School. This isn't the first time racism has occurred and nothing has been done. Patti Hamler should be fired— Nandi?? (@kitttyyqueen) March 6, 2017
I truly fw the students at Wake Forest High School standing up for Micah !!— gab$ (@GabrielleDyana) March 6, 2017
The school is wake forest high and they gon be hearing from me ?? https://t.co/bhRZO2Zi4e— aaliyah (@goldlygoddess) March 5, 2017
Meanwhile, a Change.org petition asking for Walsh to be suspended has received more than 4,000 supporters.
The school district was unwilling to say more about the incident but said they were looking into the matter.