COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. (WMC) - A Mid-South mother says her son is the victim of racist and homophobic bullying at school, and she’s accusing district leaders of failing to take any action.
The student is Black and attends West Collierville Middle School. His mother says he’s been called the N-word in person and online. And, she says, he was recently sent an invitation to another student’s Snapchat group - a group nicknamed the “Ku Klux Klan.”
“It’s just incredibly hurtful,” she told WMC Action News 5. “It’s hurtful to know my child doesn’t want to go to school because of this. It’s hurtful to me as a parent.”
She asked WMC not to reveal her name in order to protect her son. She’s speaking out because she says she wants the student who created the racist social media page disciplined, and she wants the Collierville School System to be more responsive in how it handles issues of racism and harassment.
“There’s no way that a child should be subjected to this type of cyberbullying, there has to be zero tolerance for this type of action,” she said.
She says her son’s white classmate created a Snapchat group and sent her son an invitation to join it during the school day. Her son saw the KKK name and comments from another student, who’d written the N-word. When her son expressed his objections, she says he was then called a homophobic slur in the messaging group.
She said one student called her son the N-word and another told her child Black lives don’t matter. Her son went to the assistant principal of the middle school, who then called his mother.
“Her response was very,” she said pausing, “...dismissive. And it made me wonder what’s going on here? What is the school policy? And how will the school address these types of issues?”
The word “Death” was also sent directly to the child via Snapchat, which the mother said was a relation for him reporting the group to the school and police.
WMC reached out to Collierville Schools for comment. Public Information Officer Mario Hogue sent the following statement:
“Collierville Schools takes every academic disruption very seriously, both West Collierville Middle School and the District Administration are aware of the incident and have launched a full investigation into the disruption that occurred at the school campus. We are very concerned by the actions that took place, Collierville Schools works very diligently and collaborates with industry experts to build our academic landscape that welcomes, honors, and appreciates cultural diversity and inclusion for all. We are actively speaking with the family, we respect and understand their concerns as it relates to this situation.”
The Collierville Police Department also confirmed it is investigating the incident:
“CPD is aware of an incident regarding a Collierville Middle School student and currently investigating this matter. Due to this being an active investigation and parties involved being juveniles. We cannot comment on this matter until the investigation is completed.”
This protective parent wants justice for her son and says she’ll keep fighting for change in the district.
“At this point, there’s got to be some training, some diversity training, sensitivity training,” she said. “And then also disciplinary action to be taken when these types of incidents occur.”
She says she intends to address the Collierville School Board about racism in the school system. In 2018, Black pastors and parents appeared before the school board to express concern about racist vandalism that had appeared on desks and on a minister’s car. District leaders pledged zero tolerance then, and now.
The student’s mom says she also wants to press criminal charges against the students who cyberbullied her child.