Since the Parkland, Fla school shooting that left 17 dead, many have been vocal about enforcing stronger gun control laws and restrictions of semi-automatic weapons (like the AR-15 used in the shooting). During one debate in a North Carolina high school over Wednesday’s national school walk out, the conversation took a racist turn.
One student who was angry over the possibility of changing gun laws said the n-word (yes, hard ‘r’) in a Snapchat video, which resulted in two black students getting a two-day suspension for republishing the video. The two Central Cabarrus High School sophomores, Carmani Harris-Jackson and Trinity Smith spoke with BuzzFeed News and said they feel it was unfair they were being punished for drawing attention to their classmate’s racist remarks.
“I was a victim in the situation and you all got mad at me for putting it out there,” said 15-year-old Harris-Jackson. “Someone posted on Snapchat how the walkout would be stupid, how without guns we wouldn’t have any of the stuff we have today, and that we were wasting our time walking out.”
From there, she and a few white students who identify themselves as conservative began going back and forth via Snapchat Stories on February 21. A white female student of CCHS recorded her friend, another white CCHS student in a Snapchat video in a car saying: “They’re putting laws on who can purchase a gun. No, n***er…”
Harris-Jackson took this as a personal insult given her vocality on the issue made via her public Snapchat story.
“Me and [the girl who said it] were friends before this happened. We had a class together. We would talk together. But as soon as I have a difference in views, you call me a very harmful and offensive racial slur? She said it in a joking manner, but there are boundaries of things you joke about and that’s not one of the things you joke about it,” said Harris-Jackson.
Harris-Jackson and best friend Trinity Smith reposted the video via Facebook and Twitter and mentioned the girl attended CCHS. The video received over 10,000 views and 200 retweets. The next day (Feb. 22), the girls were both issued a suspension notice for creating “disruptive environment.”
After receiving backlash the school released a statement claiming “racial prejudice and insensitivity have no place in our classrooms or on our campuses.”