By Eula Monte
Za’Khari Waddy is only 13 years old and is in the 8th grade but he has already experienced so much racism from white students at his school that he and his mother are pleading for it to stop and for the school and the district to take action.
Teens like Za’Khari do not often have the ability to use social media to highlight the horrible discrimination and bullying like what he has experienced at Tabb Middle School in Yorktown, Virginia.
In spite of being an amazing kid, a scholar-athlete, being on the honor roll and a leader on his football team, the teen has endured traumatic racist attacks at the hands of white students and the teachers and administration who choose to turn a blind eye to what is happening.
In a letter to the school his mother, Zettrona Powell said:
“Ever since we’ve moved to this area my son has been faced with racism…He’s been asked if he was going to [email protected] or rob a young lady, he’s been pushed into lockers and called a n****r on numerous occasions.”
No matter how much Za’Khari and his mother report the incidents to the school, nothing much has been done to make the attacks stop.
After a particularly vicious verbal attack while riding the school bus to Tabb after an away game, Za’Khari says a white student said nasty and racist things to him.
After that incident Za’Khari and his mother had reached their breaking point and the teen wrote the following open letter to his school:
To Whom It May Concern:
Yesterday on the football bus coming from our football game a kid … started saying racist things to me. He then started saying he does not like blacks and he told me 200 years ago my ancestors hung from a tree and after he said that I should I hang from a tree. That made me super mad, so in the locker room I told him not to call me n****r or that I should be hung on a tree. The coaches took me away from the kid because I was really mad and they think I was going to fight him but I want someone to do something about it because I’m tired of boys messing with me because of my skin. I’m at my boiling point with this. Please do something about this because when I bring it to the office/principle you do nothing about it and I’m tired of the racism.
Since writing the letter, Za’Khari and his mother have only been given the run around from both the school and the school board who keep saying they will “look into it” and “Please know that the matter is being investigated.” In the mean time, the teen has to still attend the same school where he is seeing his bullies on a daily basis in class.
“This has crushed my son’s spirit,” said his mother. “When my son got off the bus he threw his backpack, the coaches came in and told him ‘don’t let it get to him.’ How can he not allow this to bother him mentally? This has mentally damaged my son.”
Many schools talk a lot about bullying but seem to ignore the fact that a lot of the bullying is racially motivated. Across the country, many Black and Brown children who happen to be the minority or the only minority in their schools and classrooms are facing this bullying everyday.