A college-bound, star soccer player at Palisades Charter High School in Southern California just found out that despite her accomplishments thus far, a group of White boys only think of her as one thing: a Black girl. They cicrulated a photo of her with a noose drawn around her neck in a group chat which only earned them a suspension.
Aina Adewunmi, a 15-year old sophomore, became acquainted with these boys after she transferred to the school in January. After repeatedly using the n-word in her presence and via the digital forum, Aina put her foot down. "I told him I didn't want to be in his presence anymore and I said, 'I don't want to be associated with you," she said.
But that wasn't the end of it. On May 23, Aina saw the photo and went straight to the principal, Pam Magee. She suspended the students involved and issued a statement which read in part, "The conduct of the students was egregious and contrary to the mission and values of our school, our students, our staff, and our community, and is not tolerated at PCHS."
Magee went on to call their actions reprehensible, but refused to expel the students permanently. Does she not consider this a hate crime??? Aina's mother, Tracy Adewunmi, says that the school hasn't done enough to make this right. "We asked for the students to be expelled and the school is not going to expel them--which is saddening because it means they tolerate this behavior," she said. "I need more."
Aina expressed her disappointment as well. “The kids at Pali need to know there [is] zero tolerance for this. It shouldn’t even be a question whether they should be expelled,” Aina said.
Not surprisingly, Aina's case is no isolated incident. Just last year, two students spray-painted racist and hateful graffiti all over campus referencing the KKK, Black people, Jews, and the LGBT. The community was so outraged that about 300 students and community leaders staged a protest.
Now these students were eventually arrested since there was vandalism involved, but had they just posted flyers, or hung a noose from a tree, or maybe even circulated a photo of a Black girl being lynched, would the situation have been handled any differently?
Aina will likely have to spend the next two years of high school walking the halls and taking classes with these same little bigots when school resumes. Now, where is the justice in that?