PRINCETON – More than a month after reports surfaced alleging racism and bullying at Princeton School, Johnston County Public Schools Board Chairman Todd Sutton has issued a response. Sutton says the school board’s law firm will conduct a broad investigation and make recommendations to the board of education.
On October 26th ABC11 reported that Brooklyn Edwards, a student, claimed she was called racial insultsAccording to him, tensions existed between black and white students at the school. [Ive been]The 15-year-old student claimed that the N-word was a monkey and that he was told to pick cotton.
After the meeting, the Johnston County NAACP & African American Caucus for the Johnston County Democratic Party declared that they would be closely monitoring the situation and urged the JCPS administration and JCPS to conduct an investigation to ensure that students involved in bullying were held accountable as well as staff who failed to respond.
Dr. Gettys Cohen of NAACP-Johnston County Branch stated in October that black students are often the victims of racial bullying that is ignored or not handled properly. These experiences are many and well worth attention. Often, the victims of bullying are black students.
Angelique Legette is president of the African American Caucus in Johnston County Democratic Party. She stated that the school system administrations effort was lacking and that it has not followed-through when initiators are disciplined.
Tuesday night, Chairman Sutton read from a prepared statement saying in part, “We have heard the concern brought before us by several members of the Princeton community. We are grateful for the hard work of Princeton Middle/High’s administrative team. Please know that as a school district, we want to provide a safe and harmonious place for all of our students and staff.”
“Our school administrators thoroughly investigate any incident that is reported on our campuses. Johnston County Public Schools maintains a close working relationship with local law enforcement and will involve them in any investigation that is necessary. In most instances, these investigations could involve student discipline or confidential information pertaining to our students and will not be shared publicly.”
“The Board of Education will not tolerate racist bullying or harassment in our schools. The Princeton Middle/High school administration has reviewed all reports of racist harassment. However, to make sure that we understand how students have been treated at Princeton, we have asked our law firm for a broader investigation into the school environment and for recommendations on how to ensure a positive school environment for all students and staff.”
“We encourage our students to speak up if they witness or experience anything that makes them feel uncomfortable while in the school setting. Our students have access to anonymous reporting tools that have been made available over the past several years. As previously stated, any incidents that are reported to our administrative teams are investigated promptly and thoroughly.”
“Please hear us in saying that we take all allegations of racism, harassment, and bullying occurring in our schools seriously,” Chairman Sutton stated.
Johnston County is changing and Black and other minorities children should be allowed to attend school without fear of racism bullying, Legette stated in October. Students must also feel confident that school administrators will create and enforce policies that include and protect them.
Dr. Cohen stated in October that Johnston County Public Schools must stand up to its students and immediately implement and enforce a zero tolerance policy for racism, discrimination and harassment.