Arkansas high school students stage sit-in after black student and white abuser were both suspended following fight over viral video
Arkansas high school students staged a sit-in on their campus after a black student was suspended for the same amount of time as a white student who fought with him during class time.
The instigators filmed the altercation and posted it on social media, sparking several discussions, including questioning the administration’s response to bullying and systemic racial bias in disciplining young people at school. .
The now viral video has racked up thousands of views and shares.
The fight, instigated by a white student, took place in a locker room at Fordyce High School. It is unclear exactly when the incident took place, but it was posted on Twitter on February 25 by a local activist.
Cellphone video shows a black teenager getting dressed as the ‘white bully’ bombards him with vulgar statements about the child’s mother.
The black teenager is seen trying to ignore these insults and at one point tries to walk away as the bully is encouraged by other boys to continue the onslaught of verbal attacks and threatened to physically assault her. The music video, which is just over 2 minutes long, shows the black boy finally responding after being hit by an object and pushed by the larger white assailant.
At one point, the white teenager places the black boy in a headlock until, ultimately, the student is left unconscious on the floor. As he is knocked out, the white kid kicks him in the head and stomps him on the back.
The unsupervised students were never interrupted by a teacher or coach, and it was not reported how long the black child was left unconscious on the floor.
School officials reportedly suspended the two students for ten days, despite video showing the black child was attacked first, tried to defuse the situation and, according to Fox 16, had previously reported that he was being bullied.
To protest against this decision, members of the student body decided to protest by organizing a sit-in on Friday, March 4. Their goal is to get the school to pay more attention to reports of bullying and commit to taking action against those who bully other students.
The students were also alarmed and objected to the two students being disciplined.
A video showed the principal addressing the children, saying he “admired” them for exercising their “right” to protest. But also said the school investigated the fight “thoroughly” and “got as far as possible in the textbook” to align with school policy.
He told students they were disrupting school, especially several ‘important people on campus’ who want to help the administration secure ‘programs’ for next year, implying the protest is hampering that progress .
The students became agitated by his remarks, and a young woman asked, “Why, if this has been going on since November, why haven’t you taken care of it then?”
Another replied, “this boy is trained in martial arts”, referring to the white teenager.
The school’s student government president stood up after the principal told him to show leadership and take control of the situation. The black student stood up and said, ‘I trust the school system, but if it’s not handled properly then we’re going to [continue to protest].”
The president thanked the principal for allowing the protest and said he “really hopes” the black student gets an apology.
The principal then tells the students to go to their next period, and the video shows them responding with a “no!” overwhelming.
Fordyce School District Superintendent Judy Hubbell declined to comment on details of the incident, saying it was “confidential information.” reports Camden News.
Hubbell said: ‘This video came to light about two days ago and we cannot discuss student discipline as it is confidential information. We are in the process of investigating this matter and dealing with it.
“We don’t want bullying on our campus,” she continued. “We want to have a safe campus, but it’s just been revealed, and we’re working on it, talking through the process. There have been disciplinary measures, but I cannot tell you what those measures are. I can’t tell you who’s involved or anything like that.
State Representative Jamie Scott and State Senator Joyce Elliott contacted the city’s Department of Education about the matter.
Elliott tweeted: “Someone from the Fordyce [School] The district must defend the suspension of the bullied student. It’s crazy. What the hell was he supposed to do? There is no equivalence here!
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