Mom says son's punishment was racial discrimination

A Bay Area mother is outraged after her son was sent to clean the bathrooms at his school as punishment for an alleged bullying incident at a Berkeley school.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
A Bay Area mother is outraged after her son was sent to clean the bathrooms at his school as punishment for an alleged bullying incident at a Berkeley school. She claims it is racial discrimination.

Most people would tell you that Le Conte Elementary School is a wonderful place where they are doing great things. But, who filed a 16-page complaint against the Berkeley Unified School District says the school went too far. The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights has gotten involved and say they have received two additional complaints from parents at the school

"It blew my mind. Even now, after so long, I still can't believe it because no one... He shouldn't have been put in that," Magdalene King'ori told ABC7 News. She says her 11-year-old son Ishmael Perry cleaned this and other school bathrooms at Laconte Elementary for six days in May. She and her husband put an end to it when they found out.

"He is a minor. His father and I, Steve and I, we were not given a chance to protect our son. He is still a minor and for him to be in the bathroom two times a day for six days is unacceptable," she told ABC7 News.

King'ori says her son and his friends were with another boy who was supposedly bullying a girl in front of her friends during an afterschool program. King'ori claims Ishmael did nothing wrong, yet was punished. He and the other boys were then given tasks to do.

"It's not unusual to see such things as litter detail and those kinds of things, as positive ways to get something positive out of disciplinary action," said Mark Coplan with the Berkeley Unified School District.

The two boys wore plastic gloves and only picked up paper from the floor. But the boy's mother says a lot of it was near the urinal stalls. She says the boy who supposedly did the bullying is not black and claims he got off lightly. "There were two black boys who were cleaning the bathrooms," King'ori said.

But the mother admits Ishmael wanted to clean the bathrooms because one of his friends was doing it. He never told his parents.

Members of the school's African American coalition are outraged -- not at the school -- but at the boy's parents. "The kids were offered to do community service around the school and they were excited to serve that way, instead of having some other activities taken or being suspended or what have you, and the child just stretched the truth," Lia Parks said.

"I just hope and pray it never happens to them. So that's all I can say," said.

The district says if they find anyone acted inappropriately, they will take action against the school.
Related Topics:
education students schools bullying racism Berkeley
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