A Black high school student in Torrance, California was the target of hateful text messages and a video of seven teenage girls shouting a racial slur that’s sparked outrage in the community, per CBS News.
“It really hurt me first seeing that it was an African American leading them on to say it, which makes everybody think that it’s OK,” said Jayla Lewis, a junior at South High School.
The racist video was recorded five years ago and recently resurfaced among South High School students.
Lewis said a Black classmate was sent the video along with hateful messages saying “Kill yourself. We don’t want you. You don’t fit in with the rest of us” and “Go back to Africa.”
According to Lewis, no one was reprimanded at the time the messages were sent. Many of the girls in the video are now seniors at South High with leadership positions in the student body and sports teams, so Lewis said she doubts they will face disciplinary consequences.
Less than 3 percent of the students at South High are Black, and many say they don’t feel protected by the school.
“There’s barely any African American staff,” said Lewis. “It’s not really anybody I can go to for personal, cultural problems.”
Torrance Unified School District officials said they’ve addressed the incident with the students and their families.
“I can assure our school community that if ever students have conflicts with one another while at school or at a school event, we will work with them and their families to offer the support and supervision necessary to help them address their conflict respectfully and productively,” the district said in a statement.
Lewis’ mother, Linda Morris, said the district needs to get to the root of why such an incident would occur among students.
“My message to the district is to try to find out why these children don’t like African Americans,” Morris said. “We couldn’t choose our color. What is this that we have done, especially the students who are going there for academics, and trying to get a good education, why do they feel like we don’t deserve it but they do?”
In a statement, the district said that “student safety and well-being” is their top priority, noting that they encourage students and parents to report similar incidents to school officials.
See the text messages here.
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