A student has been suspended from Baldwin-Woodville High School in Baldwin, Wisconsin for giving a noose and KKK symbols to a classmate during art class, according to the Star Tribune.
The student, a male freshman, allegedly placed a macramé noose and miniature hat on the desk of a black female student.
The female student is one of three black students in the entire school of 450.
Eric Russell, principal of the school, says that the boy said that he gave the noose and KKK symbols to be a joke. The girl and her family found nothing funny about the prank.
The 15-year-old girl and her adoptive parents have had a difficult time adjusting to life amid racism.
“She has been experiencing racial comments since joining our family her eighth-grade year,” foster mother Sarah Hitzeman told the Tribune. “Her freshman year stared out with students calling her ‘Big Mocha’ and making fun of her hair and breasts.’”
The young girl is scared to return to school and Hitzeman is now calling on school officials to address the bullying and prevent future harassment.
Russell says that he is looking into the allegations of racist bullying and says that the boy’s parents will meet with the parents of the girl before the boy returns to school.
“I don’t think there are a whole lot of bullying and harassment issues going on, but obviously students act differently when I’m around,” Russell told the paper. “Our main goal is to make all students comfortable, safe and happy here at school. And if somebody isn’t, we need to address it … and what we’ll do about it depends on what we find.”
Hitzeman said that other students have criticized the young girl since the boy’s suspension, saying that she overreacted to the joke. Hitzeman wants the school to acknowledge the problem and come down hard on students who act in this manner. She says that the school needs to establish that they will not tolerate race-based harassment of any kind.
“To have a school that has no tolerance for bullying but a lot of tolerance for racial issues isn’t right,” Hitzeman said. “I want my daughter to understand this isn’t OK, and she doesn’t have to accept it.”
Follow Marquise Francis on Twitter @mKfly