JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The family of a sixth grader at Mandarin Middle School plans to sue Duval County Public Schools, alleging a teacher called the boy the n word.
Aylise Beechem said attending Mandarin Middle is causing her sixth-grader emotional distress.
"It upsets me a lot and it upsets him as well to be made that it's ok, it should be ok because we as Black people say the N word, it should be ok that someone else is allowed to say it, that's not ok," Beechem said.
Beechem and her attorney, Jasmine Rand, said students have repeatedly called Beechem's son the n word.
"The school has failed repeatedly to hold these students calling him the n word using racism battering him and physically attacking him accountable, but has repeatedly punished him," Rand said.
According to Rand and Beechem, one of the students who called the boy the n word also attacked him and took his bookbag. They said Beechem's son defended himself and administrators suspended him.
On another occasion, another student who they said called her son the n word and Beechem's son both pushed each other. They said both were given suspensions.
"The stress is very, very high. because, at this age in his life, I never wanted him to be going through this. He's at the prime age of his life. He's 12-years-old. There's no way that she should be experiencing racism, especially in school, coming from a teacher or a student," Beechem said.
April 12, Beechem and Rand said the boy told his social studies teacher another student called him the n word.
“They began to have a discussion about why he didn't want to be called the n word. She told him essentially that, why does it even bother him. Why does he even bother him if he's called the n word because Black people can refer to themselves as the n word, so it shouldn't bother him," Rand said.
"And he asked her, 'How would you feel if people kept using racial slurs against you and called you a cracker.' And she said to him, 'n word, you don't have the privilege to discriminate against white people because Black people are inferior to white people," Rand said.
When Beechem and her son reported it to school administrators, they said the principal said they'd conduct an internal investigation, but said they wouldn't notify the superintendent.
Rand said Beechem called the superintendent’s office and reported the incident. The superintendent's office wrote the complaint down, Rand said, and the principal got a hold of the statement. She said the administrators removed the boy from the teacher's classroom. Beechem is calling for the teacher to be fired immediately.
According to Rand, seven students have signed statements confirming the teacher called the boy the n word. Rand said the lawsuit will also name the principal, the dean and the teacher.
First Coast News reached out to the teacher and haven't heard back.