A South Florida high school student was stunned during a recent Zoom class session when her classmate used the chat function to spew racist slurs at her.
And when the teacher—and principal—did nothing about the situation, she and her mother decided it was time to make a change.
She transferred schools shortly after.
During the September 24 class session, Jasmine, a 14-year-old freshman at Miami Senior High School, couldn’t believe what she saw. She explained her initial response to WSVN:
“[I] Kept on seeing something pop up on the Zoom, so I look, and then, it’s like N-word—hard R—in all caps.”
“Then, I click on the chat, I open it and then, it’s like spammed all through, and then, it’s like ‘Unmute me ugly B-word’.”
Jasmine later elaborated:
“I didn’t know how to feel because I was like, ‘Did this just really happen? Am I imagining this?’”
The level of discomfort and concern only increased when Jasmine’s mother, Nicole Crooks, became involved.
After she heard nothing from the teacher following the incident, Crooks met with the principal to discuss what took place.
Crooks told WSVN how that meeting went:
“I was shocked. I was shocked.”
“The way that he came out and spoke to me was rude, to say the least. Not once did he ask my daughter if she was OK.”
“Not once did he ask how she was feeling. Not once did they say ‘You know what? That is not acceptable behavior here’.”
The school did eventually tell the family the student was disciplined.
But for Crooks that was too little, too late.
“It’s being swept up underneath the rug. It’s not being addressed the way that it needs to.”
Disappointed by the school’s response, Jasmine decided to transfer to a new school where she could feel more comfortable and supported.
Jasmine and Crooks, however, are not finished with their pursuit of justice. They’ve hired an attorney and sent a letter requesting the school release a recording of the Zoom session in question.
And depending on the school’s response, the family said going to court was on the table.
The family’s attorney, Ariel Lett, kept her criticism direct and succinct:
“We need to see some change, and we need to see some change in that school in particular, and I think within the entire administration and the Miami-Dade school district.”
Miami Dade-County Public Schools, the district which encompasses Miami High School, did release a statement addressing the event.
“Miami-Dade County Public Schools is obviously disheartened to learn about this incident as we strongly believe that every child should feel a sense of belonging and acceptance.”
“Although we cannot provide further comment due to potential litigation, our commitment to promoting racial equality and social justice has not wavered.”
Folks on Facebook were also appalled.
Others were simply outraged racist bullying never seems to go away.
Hopefully Jasmine’s new school allows her to focus on learning without racist interruptions.