Education

Wake schools 'committed to address the racial tensions' after student videos surface

Posted March 14, 2017 6:11 p.m. EDT
Updated March 14, 2017 9:04 p.m. EDT

— Wake County school leaders met Tuesday afternoon to address two separate incidents involving racial slurs that have raised concerns among students and parents.

Earlier this month, a video showed an altercation between two students at Wake Forest High School. In the video, posted to Instagram, black student Micah Speed is seen pulling a white student to the ground before a teacher steps in.

Speed, who was suspended for the incident, said he got into the fight after months of being targeted with racial slurs.

His mother, Yolanda Speed, said her son should be chastised in some way, but that he was not the bully in the situation.

"This is seriously happening and people are only paying attention now because it was caught on video, that's it," said Yolanda Speed.

Last week, in a separate video recorded off school grounds, three Leesville Road Middle School students used racial slurs in an online video. Those students were punished.

"Those are our students and those students come to our school and interface with other students," Wake County school board chair Monika Johnson-Hostler said.

After the racially charged online videos, the local NAACP chapter is calling for a meeting with Wake County School superintendent Jim Merrill and others.

“Two of the most recent publicized incidents involve middle school and high school students captured on video. We must send a strong signal that this behavior is unacceptable,” said Gerald Givens Jr. with the Raleigh-Apex NAACP branch.

Monika Johnson-Hostler is also speaking out.

“We are just as disheartened. The words I heard used earlier, many of what we heard and seen are absolutely horrific and reprehensible,” Johnson-Hostler said."Today I am here to say we are absolutely committed to address the racial tensions in our school system."

Johnson-Hostler said there are plans to talk about the issues in a meeting with district principals Thursday.

"This is something that clearly has been on the hearts and minds of myself as the board chair," she said.

Short and long-term possible solutions will be delivered by the superintendent next week and the local NAACP chapter has it's own forum planned for the weekend.