Florida Graduating Senior Files Racial Discrimination Complaint Against MAST Academy

Florida Graduating Senior Files Racial Discrimination Complaint Against MAST Academy

A graduating senior has filed a civil rights complaint alleging racial discrimination against two faculty members at a Florida school.

The Miami-Dade County School District has opened an investigation into the claims made by Aniyah Upshaw, who says she was regularly singled out and made to bear the weight of derogatory comments with racial undertones at MAST Academy.

“They just do not care, and it’s very unfortunate that we have to face this,” Upshaw said during a news conference last week. “Students that have reported cases of racism going on within the school, they have been bullied and they have been constantly harassed on a day-to-day basis, and no one should have to go through that.”

Upshaw says she was forced to ignore the unwarranted remarks directed toward her from teachers. One incident in particular left her feeling ostracized.

“He would say, ‘You know all about angry Black women’ and that they don’t mess around, and look to me, the only Black student, for confirmation,” she said in her complaint. “This was a math class, and none of these discussions related to the subject matter or learning environment.”

The Florida school’s assistant principal also made insensitive statements. According to NBC Miami, Upshaw was told that her clothing was inappropriate and that she looked like she was ready for a night at the club. “I was wearing a long-sleeve shirt and sweatpants, what club am I going to?” the graduating senior said.

Civil rights attorney Sue-Ann Robinson said this type of behavior toward students, who are still in their crucial development stages, can create a lasting negative impact. “The daily behaviors do in fact create harm, it’s the death of a thousand cuts,” said Robinson.

According to Upshaw’s family, this complaint is a means of establishing a safer and more equitable learning environment for current and future Black students at MAST Academy.