Students Suspended For Talking About Nooses
Last Edited: Monday, 19 Nov 2007
Accusations of racism in a Lee’s Summit high school have lead to suspensions, but now the parents say their kids were unfairly punished.
There’s apparently been some racial tension in the band at Lee’s Summit West, specifically on the drum line. Students were talked to a couple weeks ago because both the black and white kids were using the “n word” and the band director told them to stop. But then talk about a noose landed a couple kids in big trouble.
Travis Grigsby loves playing drums, but he and his friend Alex Coday weren’t able to play for two weeks after they were suspended. It started after the band’s performance at a football game. Some kids on the drum line said they were talking about the best knots to use to tie up the drum equipment.
“Someone asked if anybody knew how to tie a noose and Travis did admit he knew how to tie a noose,” Kim Grigsby said.
Travis’ mom said her son is almost an Eagle Scout, he knew how to tie it, but told his friends he wouldn’t because you could get in trouble for that. Later, a black student on the drum line told the teacher he was offended.
“Travis was accused of using a racial slur for saying the word ‘noose.’ Then he was suspended for 10 days,” Kim said.
She said the school district accused the boys of having a racially charged conversation about nooses, but Travis and Alex insist that’s not what happened.
“I don’t feel they let Alex or Travis tell their side of the story,” Kim said.
Alex’s parents wrote to the district saying this is pushing the kids apart instead of bringing them together. Other kids and parents agree.
“We just want what’s fair for our boys,” Kim said. “They’re good boys, get good grades, participate in school activities.”
The school did shorten the kids’ school suspension to only five days, but it will affect their grades.
“They are being punished beyond what is even near reasonable,” Kim said.
The school district said it can’t comment because of privacy issues, but said no one is aware of any racial tensions at the school. The administrators said they did investigate it thoroughly.