CASTLE ROCK, Colo. — A 14-year-old boy told Denver7 he suffered so much racism at Castle Rock Middle School that he no longer felt safe there. Now his parents are planning to take legal action, claiming that the Douglas County School District downplayed the behavior of other students as bullying instead of a hate crime.
Jeramiah Ganzy, 14, says racism from fellow students at Castle Rock Middle School was so blatant that he is ending the rest of the school year online.
“Mostly this year is when it got worse on the bus and at school. They would call me, like, a monkey, the N-word. At the end of Black History Month, they would tell me that it wasn’t my month anymore,” the teenager said.
Jeramiah says the teachers not only turned a blind eye to the harassment, but he also felt discriminated against by a staff member who accused him of stealing a water bottle.
“She then asked me where I got the money,” he said.
Things escalated when the teenager informed the administrators of a large Snapchat group of around 100 students.
“They were sending the N-word. They were sending things against people of the Jewish faith. They were sending things against the LGBTQ community,” Jeramiah said.
That’s when the harassment became more serious, according to Jeramiah’s mother.
“There was a group of them calling for a lynching because my son exposed and ruined their academic future. And at that moment, [Jeramiah] was immediately removed from school,” Lacey Ganzy said.
In March, Jeramiah emailed the district regarding racism and how “unwanted” he felt at school. In an email, Castle Rock Middle School principal John Veit said: ‘It’s unfortunate to hear. We are working on it, but I have a feeling it will be a long project for us. He wrote very well there.
It’s not enough for the Ganzys.
Lacey thinks the district needs to implement its fairness policy and says students who are victims of hate speech should be given an attorney. She says none of her children will be attending DCSD schools next year.
“We’re not going to continue to classify things as bullying, and we’re going to classify it as hate speech and hate crime, because that’s what it is,” Lacey said.
The family have retained the services of a lawyer and plan to take legal action.
“It’s not just, you know, kids will be kids. This is a higher level of harm for students experiencing racism and discrimination. And schools have a legal obligation — and a moral obligation — to make sure they end that action, that conduct, to educate their students,” attorney Iris Halpern said.
Denver7 contacted the Douglas County School District and was told by a spokesperson that the district could not discuss disciplinary action due to confidentiality. In a statement, the district said it appreciates the Ganzys “advising us of their concerns so that we can ensure our system meets their needs.”
“Our goal is to take care of every one of our students in our district. We appreciate the Ganzy family for sharing their concerns with us so that we can ensure our system meets their needs. »
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