The white Shawnee Mission East High School student who went viral this week after being caught on camera hurling racial slurs at a Black student before physically attacking her is now charged with felony aggravated battery, and, unsurprisingly, that charge is not the first felony the racist teen has been charged with.
As we previously reported, on Monday, students at Shawnee staged a walkout because they didn’t feel the white male student—who clearly started the fight and was clearly motivated by racism—received a sufficient punishment from administrators at the school, which they claim has a long history of school officials ignoring rampant anti-Black racism. According to the Kansas City Star, roughly 100 students participated in the protest. Many of those students claim the Black girl who was only defending herself also got suspended behind the fight.
“That young lady was the victim of a hate crime, and it should be treated as such,” said Anisha Jackson, a parent of a former Shawnee Mission student who has been active in challenging the district to address and appropriately punish racism against Black students. “She was protecting herself essentially, from videos I saw, as she was being assaulted. I’m not sure why she got suspended.”
Kansas City’s Black Student Solidarity Network, a youth-led organization supporting students in Kansas and Missouri, echoed the same sentiments while calling on the district to expel the white student and issue an apology for suspending his victim.
“Black students must have the right to defend themselves without fear of unjust punishment,” the group wrote in a statement.
For the record, district officials haven’t confirmed what punishment either student has faced, if any.
“While we cannot share specific information about the incident or the District’s response, the District wants to reassure the community it takes proactive measures to create a safe educational environment where every student feels a sense of belonging. This includes extensive work to support diversity, equity, and inclusion,” district spokesman David Smith said in an emailed statement. “Unfortunately, children make big and small mistakes every day. We will continue to respond to those mistakes in an equitable and consistent manner, and our efforts to educate our students about how to treat each other will be ongoing.”
Meanwhile, Johnson County District Court records show that the white student, 15, was also charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor in a separate case from June. Those charges include aggravated battery, aggravated assault and battery. It’s unclear what happened in that case, but on Wednesday, an emergency review hearing was called and the teen was ordered to be held in custody.
It’s also unclear what the boy’s punishments will be if convicted in either case, but hopefully, they reflect the claims often made by school districts and legal officials that racism and violence are not acceptable.
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