BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. —
At Moreland Ridge Middle School in Blue Springs, Missouri, Lekeisha Veal says her son was the target of racist remarks in class.
“A student yelled from across the room, ‘Is that cotton?’ referring to Jeremiah,” Veal said.
Veal says the administration at Moreland Ridge took action and is apologetic. She says the offending student got three days of in-school suspension. She also says that punishment isn’t enough.
“He is very fearful of going back into the building because he thinks that it will happen again and next time will be worse,” Veal said.
Her son echoed her sentiment.
“You don’t know if the kid’s going to want to say it again, just try not to get caught,” Jeremiah Veal said.
He plans to finish the school year virtually because he’s not comfortable going back.
Students were just beginning their studies Monday when the incident happened. Veal says he was yelled at randomly by another student.
“There needs to be some accountability. Things keep happening because we allow them to happen,” Lekeisha Veal said.
The Blue Springs School District is majority white. Only about 7%
of the population is Black.
Jeremiah Veal says his class is even less diverse than that.
“There’s like 22 and I’m the only African American kid in there, it’s like weird,” Veal said.
His mother says she plans to file a civil rights complaint. Jeremiah hopes others learn from the incident. He says he wants everyone to be treated with kindness, regardless of race, age or gender.
When asked for comment, Blue Springs said it can’t discuss any specific student, but that it follows disciplinary policies.
The district says a diversity coordinator is available for students and staff who need support or sensitivity training.