A 10-year-old boy was subjected to racism by his fellow fifth-graders after he transferred to a predominantly white school in Chelsea, Alabama.
Taylor Armbrester said he has been continuously assaulted, both verbally and physically, by his white classmates at Chelsea Park Elementary School. The little boy has been punched, kicked and called demeaning words like “black boy” and “retarded.” In fact, a bully told him the school was a better place before he got transferred there.
One of the boys also allegedly concocted a racist poem against him that sought to belittle Taylor’s race.
“Roses are red, violets are blue, I am white, you should be, too. Roses are red, violets are blue, I am white, why aren’t you? Roses are red, violets are blue, God made me pretty, what happened to you?” Taylor recounted his classmate telling him.
He also said that he had a physical altercation with the boy previously, after which they were both sent to the counselor. Taylor thought they were now friends.
“He said, ‘Don't take it offensively,’” the fifth-grade victim said. “I know he was just playing a joke. I said, ‘I hope you know God doesn't like that.’”
But the bullying did not stop there. Taylor said another boy accused him of stealing a fidget spinner and punched him in the face when he denied any knowledge of it. On the same day, a girl he considered a friend asked him to pass her the ball while he was playing basketball. But instead of aiming at the basket ring, she hurled the ball at him and broke his finger. His mother had to take him to the emergency room.
“They think they can just do it to me,” the 10-year-old said. “They think I'm dumb or something. They kept on doing it to me.”
The school’s assistant principal, Mary Anderson, and a guidance counselor met with the boy’s mother, Shaneka Phillips, to discuss the ongoing issue. The counselor also had a meeting with a student who admitted he participated in bullying Taylor.
However, similar to most cases of racism against African-Americans, assistant principal Anderson said there were no issues of bullying at the school and what happened to Taylor was just “an isolated case.”
“We have children of all races,” she said of the school.
Out of the 883 students at Chelsea Park Elementary School, there are 88 black students, 40 Hispanics, 23 Asians and one Pacific Islander. But there are 715 white students, which make up 81 percent of the school body, according to a local outlet.
Bullying has always been prevalent in schools in America. According to the 2013 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Study, about 20 percent of teenagers report being bullied and 6 percent said they have been physically bullied, including being pushed or tripped. About 13 percent have also been abused verbally, including being made fun of them, called names or insulted.
Some researchers believe bullying has been on the decline for years, but after the 2016 election, there is “anecdotal evidence” that incidents related to discrimination have been on the rise due to President Donald Trump’s incendiary rhetoric.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters