A Missouri mom says she was brought to tears after learning her 14-year-old daughter was targeted with a racist meme by a schoolmate. Now she’s demanding action from district leaders.
According to KMOV 4, the photo was sent via AirDrop to two students at Hixson Middle School in the St. Louis suburb of Webster Groves last Thursday. The image shows a white man hosing down a young Black boy with the caption, “Go be a n—-r somewhere else.”
Parent Yolanda Morris said her daughter, Jada, told her what happened when she got home from school last week.
“I immediately started crying and started emailing,” Morris told the station. “I’ve been crying on and off all day, all night. Every time I see the picture, I just immediately start crying because I can’t believe someone would think that was okay to send to my daughter.”
Morris’ child isn’t the only one who received the racist imagery. The boy in question reportedly sent the same meme to another student during lunch period.
The outraged mother said she immediately contacted school and district officials about the situation, and recently met with Hixson Middle School Principal Grace Lee and an assistant principal last week, KMOV reports.
The girl’s father, Shaun Swearengen, also attended the meeting and said administrators seemed to understand their concern and frustration.
“They couldn’t hold the tears back. They were very apologetic,” he added. “I really feel like they understood kinda what she was going through.”
Webster Groves School District officials also addressed the matter in a statement posted to its Facebook page, which read in part:
“Upon learning of what had reportedly happened, the school’s administrators responded immediately. You can be assured that this kind of behavior has no place in our schools and will not be tolerated. We place great value on empathy and respect in our learning environment and have district policies in place that set high expectations for students.”
District leaders haven’t disclosed possible disciplinary action, citing student privacy laws.
Morris and Swearengen are calling for the student’s suspension at the least, in hopes it sends the message that such racist behavior won’t be condoned. Online users also offered their two cents on the controversy.
“I certainly hope the student who posted this is vile, hateful meme is made to be responsible for his/her actions,” one Facebook user wrote, adding, “A clear message that hateful words are not tolerated must occur.”
A fellow parent agreed, writing: “The district must make an investment in dismantling racism. This one overt racist action is intolerable and likely symptomatic of a much larger problem. This is an opportunity for transformative action.”
In addition to punishment, Morris said she’d also like to see safeguards put in place to protect the district’s Black students.
“I don’t think there’s anything in place that’s going to help Black students in the Webster Groves school district,” she told KMOV. “The policies they have in place aren’t really enforcing anything.”
Watch more in the video below.