Tracie McMillan, White People

Hate Crime At Kansas School Leaves Black Student Hospitalized Yet Still Suspended

A hate crime at Shawnee Mission East High School in Kansas has left a Black student hospitalized yet still facing consequences for defending herself.

A racial attack at a high school in Kansas has left a Black teenager attacked and hospitalized but somehow suspended—despite being the victim in the incident.

Shawnee Mission East High School is under fire for its unjust suspension of the student, known to the public as Bre, who a white male classmate verbally and physically assaulted.

The November altercation, which was captured on video, saw Bre confronting a white female student who referred to Black people as enslaved people and other slurs. According to the video from the Kansas City Defender, as the girl and Bre ended their tense discussion, a male aggressor came forward, telling the high-schooler to “shut the f-ck up.”

After she asked what he said, he can be seen attacking Bre while calling her the n-word.

Bre was subsequently taken to the hospital for a broken nose. Although the unidentified male student has been suspended, Bre also faced disciplinary action for her involvement. However, the treatment of Bre by the school district has resulted in walkouts by its student body and an outcry for justice from the community.

The school’s administration released a statement on the issue yet refused to identify the matter as a hate crime.

“As a school and a community, we know that in order for students to learn, they must first feel safe and supported,” the statement read. “Shawnee Mission East teachers, administrators, and staff will continue to do our absolute best to help every student who enters our school feel safe and supported so they can be at their very best…the words we use matter. Racially charged language, insults, and slurs will not be tolerated in our school…”

However, according to The Kansas City Defender, students believe the suspension of the white student is not severe enough given the magnitude of the issue, especially when he and the victim are given similar punishments. As the school’s code of conduct does not explicitly state that the use of racial slurs is an offense, the vague interpretation of the rules allows for leeway in punishment.

According to the students, treating the issue as a non-racialized physical fight undermines the severity of the offensive language and the discomfort students of color now feel in the educational environment, especially as the school’s population consists of 83% white students.

However, the teenagers are protesting against this instance of systemic racism, staging their walkout to advocate for stricter rules on racist incidents, expulsion for the white male student, and changes at the administrative level.

The situation is not an isolated occurrence, with others noting the racial profiling happening in the hallways by teachers and their principal, Jason Peres, according to the Kansas City Star.