Thank you all for the birthday love! I turned 40 this past Tuesday and took the day off to be with my family.
Many of you may have seen this horrible video from Lakeland, Florida where several white students are horribly beating a 12 year old boy. First, I want to thank the thousands of you that have called the School Board and the Superintendent’s office not only to complain about the schools’ failure to protect this young boy, but their failure to communicate with the parents on how they are going to protect him moving forward.
Last week, Lauren and Brandon Springfield got a call that their son had been in some kind of fight. That’s all they said. When Lauren got there, her son was bleeding from his mouth, from above his eyebrows, and had rapidly growing knots all over the front and back of his head.
A few hours later, a neighbor sent the mom a cell phone video of the assault. It wasn’t a fight. Three white children helped hold this boy down, took his glasses, kneed him, then supervised to make sure nobody helped as another boy, MMA style, got on top of him and began mauling him with punches and elbows.
Turns out three different students just sat there and filmed the whole thing.
Now only after the whole nation began putting pressure on people have the parents started to see some progress.
As of yesterday, only one student had been suspended. The school has said that more discipline is coming, but so far, it does not appear to have happened. The school has said that they are going to discipline the teacher who failed to supervise or intervene during this assault.
The Superintendent and local school board member from this district have each apologized, which is progress, but the parents are simply asking for a real plan on what’s going to be done to protect their son. It’s just not too much to ask.
I have a few quick points that I wanna make.
- We have to keep teaching our kids to intervene and help when they see somebody being bullied or assaulted like this. Filming it is just not enough. Something about social media culture has convinced people that filming horrible people doing horrible stuff is all we need to do, but we have to do better. Three different kids just sat back and watched and filmed the whole thing. They had chance after chance to intervene. I’ve told my son and all of my daughters, who are tough as nails by the way, I’ve told them all many times that if they ever see something like this happening in school that he they will never be in trouble with me if they intervenes to step in and stop it.
- Parents – I’ll tell you what I said to each of these parents – go ALL out for your children. Lauren and Brandon are doing just that. Demand each and everything you need to see and don’t stop until you see it. The school was just going to try to pass this off as a simple fight, and let it be. They had no intention on doing right by these parents. If you think your kids are being mistreated, you have to step up for them and advocate for them and raise hell until it’s made right.
- Lastly, I wanna about the reality that the abuse we suffer in society warrants professional help. Truthfully, I think all Black people in America have some degree of PTSD from the harm and trauma that we’ve experienced or witnessed across our loves. See a therapist. If you have healthy insurance, use your counseling benefits for yourself and your family. And get professional help to guide you through things.
I’ve gotta run, but I do wanna close with one final thought. Over and over again, Facebook and Instagram deleted the social media posts that Lauren and Brandon Springfield made advocating for their son. Let me be clear. We make these platforms. Our culture drives the energy of these platforms. But over and over again, I keep hearing stories of people having their accounts shut down or their content blocked when they tried to advocate for themselves.
We need to continue to have a seat at the table with these companies to make sure they are improving their systems and policies to do right by us.
I’ve gotta run, but I’ll keep us posted with any updates I hear about this case.
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