JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Three parents whose children attend Mandarin Middle School want a teacher and two administrators fired over allegations of racism, violence and threatened school shootings.
That’s according to an intent to sue that will be filed by a local attorney. Jasmine Rand spoke alongside her clients during a virtual news conference Thursday to announce their intentions.
Two of the parents are joining another mother who made the same accusations last month.
“Mandarin Middle School is failing. It’s failing its students, it’s refusing to take responsibility for the safety of its students, which is their duty. It is their duty to uphold the law to protect those students from violence,” Rand said.
Three weeks after announcing plans to sue the school for not properly addressing the alleged incidents of racism, Alyise Beechem said her son was again physically attacked by another student in the school’s hallways – resulting in a broken hand.
“Now, instead of punishing this child, or expelling this child or sending this child to another school, this school is now trying to ship Miss Beecham’s son out of the school and to another school instead of addressing the acts of racism and violence that are being perpetrated against students at the school,” Rand said.
Beechem said she feels as though a higher priority was being placed on protecting the school’s liability – instead of its vulnerable students.
“That’s not fair. That’s not fair to my child. And that’s not fair to any other child that comes before or after my child,” Beechum said. “You have to be able to make our kids to be accountable for their actions at all costs.”
On Thursday, two other parents announced plans to join the lawsuit. Kristen Woodall’s daughter was in the classroom when Beechem’s son was allegedly called the “n-word” by a teacher. After Woodall’s child called the teacher out about it – the school offered to move her to another class, instead of removing the teacher.
“That message that we’re giving to our children by continuing to allow this to happen is that they don’t matter. That they don’t that that it’s not important, and I disagree,” Woodall said.
The third parent said her daughter was called racial slurs in front of a teacher and later slapped by a white male student in the hallway.
Rand said her lawsuit hopes to hold the school and the district accountable and change a culture, that she said doesn’t adequately condemn racism.
“By leaving those bullies, by leaving those children in there who are perpetuating acts of racism and violence against other students, they are leaving the other African American students in danger,” Rand said.
Duval County Public Schools released this statement on the allegations:
“Our office of professional standards continues to investigate these allegations. The investigation is in process and has not concluded. While the presumption of innocence applies, if the allegations are confirmed and supported through the investigation, appropriate action is taken in accordance with district progressive discipline policies and the collective bargaining agreement.”