NOTE: The following affidavit was read at the Racial Justice Coalition’s Town Hall on race relations at Macomb City Hall on 1/30/2020
Content Warning: The following affidavit contains language and and descriptions of bullying, invalidation, institutional betrayal trauma, and may be triggering. Please practice caution when reading or sharing this information.
“I am a white woman who has lived in Macomb for many years, and am a former Macomb Bomber myself. I dreamed of the day I would be able to see my own children walk across that same stage, while showing our Bomber Pride.
I now have two children, one who attends Edison Elementary, and one who attends Macomb Jr. High School. My hopes and dreams have changed. I no longer dream of sharing my Bomber Pride with them. I, now, dream of them feeling accepted by their fellow Bombers. I, now, dream of a day that Macomb Public Schools will show their pride and protection to my children.
In the beginning of September of 2019 I received a call from my daughter saying that my son was being taken off the bus and to come to the high school. When I arrived at the high school I was met outside by my children and high school Principal Scott Sulivan. Scott Sullivan explained to me that ——– was being picked on by two boys on the bus. They were calling him names, slapping him, punching him, and kicking him. My son screamed stop several times and received no help from the bus driver, so he hit both boys back. Then the bus driver got involved and my son felt threatened and got off the bus and refused to get back on because he felt unsafe. Scott Sulivan told me that when ——– got off the bus he was extremely traumatized, crying hysterically, and was too terrified to get back on the bus. He also informed me that he would talk to the Principal at Edison to inform them of what he saw and heard happening.
On September 16, 2019 my son got off the bus at home in tears. I talked to him and my daughter separately to ask them what had happened. One of them same boys from the first incident had assaulted my son, again. He punched, kicked, slapped, and spit on him. On this day my son was also called the N- Word.
Several children asked the bus driver to help, and he refused by saying the attacker was a good boy and would not do that. My son finally stood up for himself and hit the boy back as he was getting off the bus. I filed a police report, but was told nothing could be done because the boy was too young. I called the bus garage for days, with no response. I called the school and was told that they would talk to the boy. My son received a detention that week with the comment “punched boy who called him N- word. Would not stay seated. Was screaming.” My son was punished for moving seats to get away from the attacker. My son was punished for screaming in fear. My son was punished for standing up for himself after physical attacks and racist remarks.
Like several other parents of Macomb schoolchildren, I stopped putting my children on the bus, incurring more financial hardship on our family, but it still didn’t stop. The bully was slapping drinks and food out of my son’s hands in the cafeteria. He was being flipped off by the boy as he walked to my car after school. That is when I called his teacher to let her know he would not be coming to school until something changed.
I then called and spoke to Mr. Twomey. I explained everything that had happened. I let him know how hopeless I felt. I thought my concerns were finally being taken seriously. He talked to me about his times as a parent and told me he understood the seriousness of this.
He asked me if I was okay with him sitting down and having a “heart to heart” with ——– so he could give him some encouragement and get his “side.” I agreed. He said he was busy the next two days, but would come in on the third day to meet with him. ——– stayed home those two days and returned on the day they were supposed to meet. They never met and I have not heard back from Dr. Twomey to this day.
After two weeks I received a call from Anthony Read, bus garage management. Anthony told me that he could not do much because they were already eight drivers short and that they watched the video audio from the bus of the day he called me back and they didn’t see any problems. I informed him that my children no longer rode the bus and that they needed to watch from when they were riding. He then said that maybe if I called sooner he could have, but he couldn’t do that now. I told him I had been calling every day since the incident and he responded that they were short staffed again.
In December 2019 I was working in the Edison Elementary School cafeteria when my son came inside from recess to find me. He told me that a teacher had told him he could not play on the playground and needed to sit on the side or play on the blacktop. I asked him why and he told my because she wanted to keep him separated from the boy who was bullying him. I told him to go back outside and ask her why he was the one being punished. The teacher then came in with ——–. She told me that she never told ——– he couldn’t play on the playground and ——– insisted that she did. The teacher’s story then changed to she did tell him that, but only because she was told they needed to be separated. I asked her how it made any sense for ——– to be punished when he was the one being bullied and called the N-word. She responded with “Well, if he doesn’t want to be called that and picked on why doesn’t he just listen and play elsewhere?” I was shocked, angry, and hurt.
After this I moved so my children were no longer riding the same bus and stopped reaching out to the school for any help, because I know they will never be on my son’s side. My son is tall, big, and black. His attacker is short, small, and white. No matter what my son endures at school, he will still be seen as the aggressor and that breaks my heart as a parent.