Campbell High students protest racist incidents at school
Upset with the way the Cobb County School board handles racist incidents that have occured at their school, several dozen Campbell High School students attended the recent Board of Education meeting with a goal in mind, to let Board members know they are angry with the inaction occurring by the Board.
Unified in their attire and their mission, students wore black and carried signs with various messages displaying their angst with the Board. The students’ complaints centered on the failure of the board to properly address racist incidents at their school. Specifically they say that when it comes to racial incidents such as students making racial comments or threats at Campbell High School, the improper actions of said students ‘never seem to be taken seriously. The protesting students also suggest that there is a lenient approach to disciplining fellow students who make racist comments.
A total of four students stepped forward to make comments, but they were not alone. Dozens of other students stood and quietly rallied behind them. They waved their signs in protest with messages such as “We all bleed the same color.” Student Kezia Kennedy told the board, “We feel like the punishments listed in the code of conduct don’t fit the gravity of the actions.”
Another student commented to the board that “for years in Cobb County we have been plagued by racist and disrespectful acts from a number of students and we are tired of it. From slurs and hate speech to offeinve images, these incidents have not been few and far between.”
The students’ anger was in response to a racist, homophobic and misogynistic social media postings by other students from Campbell. The students called out the failure to act by the board on these incidents that have occurred at Campbell in the past as well as at other high schools in Cobb.
This is the same school board that pounced on the bandwagon to denounce the teaching of critical race theory in Cobb Schools, a concept that they cannot even define. When discussed with members of the community, many point to this position strongly supported by the school board, the State Board of Education, and Governor Kemp, yet here racist acts are occurring around and among the same school children they wanted to protect. The Board appears to be silent on these racist incidents that keep occurring over and over again at various schools.
Senior Radii Ajibade, who is president of the Campbell Student Body and Black Student Association said he is used to the racist comments at Campbell, “but nothing as heinous as was displayed in the last two weeks.”
Pointing to the maximum punishment for these incidents of 3 days of out-of-school suspension, Campbell students called for the board to strengthen what they perceive as weak disciplinary measures for students who make racist remarks to 10 days of suspension.
Although the Board did not comment, address the students, or take any action, students told the board they wanted a written response within 30 days.
District spokeswoman Nan Kiel provided a statement the next day which said: “We always welcome and appreciate hearing from members of the community. Our Student Code of Conduct outlines multiple policies and applicable discipline for interpersonal student interactions, including disrespectful conduct, disruptive classroom and school behavior, harassment, electronic devices, and more. The District policies, which do not tolerate hateful and racist speech, are intended to create a safe and welcoming learning environment for all staff and students in Cobb Schools.”
Kiel’s message on behalf of the Board did not address questions raised about the discipline of the students who had allegedly posted the offensive material. It also failed to address the allegations that such incidents are not uncommon at Campbell and other Cobb Schools.