“They tell us they are gonna beat us up for being Black and they’re gonna stab us,” a ninth grader at York County School of Technology told DiversityInc.
By Sheryl Estrada
Eibreha Drayden is a15-year-old ninth grader studying dental assisting at York County School of Technology located in York, Pennsylvania. She shared on her Facebook page a video of white male classmates walking the hallways carrying a President-elect Donald Trump sign and avoice can be heard saying, “White Power.” The incident occurred onWednesday the day after the presidential election. She is now afraid to go to school.
Drayden told DiversityInc on Thursday her friend and ninth-grade classmate, Talianna Creddille, recorded a three-second video:
Drayden said she and other students of color were harassed onWednesday, and in prior incidents.
“They tell us they are gonna beat us up for being Black and they’re gonna stab us,” Drayden said. “They also said they’re gonna hang us like our ancestors and they’ll shoot us.
“I have been called Mexican and told that I need to be sent over the wall. They whistle at us like we are dogs. And they call us ‘Papi.'”
She also alleges that boys have grabbed girls’ chests and said, “Trump train.”
“It’s horrifying,” the teenager of African American, Puerto Rican and Native American descent said.
Drayden’s mother, Karen Snyder, told DiversityInc the harassment of her daughter and students of color has been going on for weeks. She said that a lot of the racial incidents allegedly take place in the school cafeteria. For that reason, she did not want her daughter to go to school on Wednesday.
“When I woke up in the morning and saw that Trump won, I told my daughter to stay home,” Snyder said. “But, she didn’t want to stay home.
“I let her go to school. She called meafter 7 a.m. in tears. She said, ‘Mom, they’re out here yelling. They had Trump shirts and signs. Yelling about beating up Black people.'”
Snyder said she has continually spoken with Sarah Koveleski, the school’s principal of manufacturing and transportation, who is “a very nice woman” but has been slow to take action. DiversityInc contacted Koveleski via email and has not yet received a response.
“Now that this is all coming out, I think that maybe the results are actually going to start occurring,” Snyder said.
Other students and parents complained to school officials on Wednesday about the video, and it began circulating on Facebook.The group “Parents of York County School of Technology Students” said on its Facebook pagemembers had received reports that “Trump’s presidential win was announced at school today amidst chants of ‘white power.'”
York Area Regional Lt. Tobin Zech said York Township and administrators determined the identities of the students involved, according to local news reports. A school official said three students have been suspended.
In response to the video, two officers were assigned to the school to supplement the regular resource officer on Thursday.
“While we all know people harbor their true feelings until they believe it is okay to act out, it appears that yesterday’s incident was isolated and the school is doing all they can to regain a sense of normalcy,” said York Mayor Kim Bracey at the school in a prepared statement. “I beg of the school personnel to keep the conversation and positive events that highlight our differences going.”
According to the York Daily Record, school administrators released a statement Thursday, which said they are “aware that there have recently been several concerns shared on social media about the operation of our school. All reported incidents are being taken seriously and investigated.
“This morning the administrative team visited each first period class to address concerns, share expectations and to reassure students that student safety is priority one at our school,” the statement said.”We want to assure you that the classes are operating today without any concerns.”
An automated call containing that statement was also sent to parents.
Snyder said her daughter returned to school on Thursday “but went with her dad so he could talk to the principal.”
She also commented that the school should have a form of diversity training for students.
“Kids are coming in from all different areas that aren’t used to diversity,” she said. “They all come under one roof with diverse people, for the first time.”
Her daughter comes to York Techfrom the Dallastown school district. She said students come from “complete rural areas” and the inner city. Snydersuggests a class in diversity, “where they can learn that they’re not so different from each other,” would be useful.
According to the school’s Facebook page, it accepts students from “14 sending school districts within York County” and is the oldest on-going career and technical school in the United States.
Other Nearby Racial Incidents Post-Election Day
An investigation began on Thursday at Council Rock North High School in Newtown, Pennsylvania, regarding acts of vandalism and harassment. A Latina student found a note in her backpack telling her to return to Mexico.
In a girls’ bathroom, someone hung a piece of paper that read, “I Love Trump,” with a “derogatory comment about people who are gay” and three swastikas, according to the Philly Voice. Two swastikas were also drawn on a stall in aboys’ bathroom. And on a toilet paper dispenser, in another girls’ bathroom, someone wrote, “If Trump wins, watch out!”
President-Elect Trump won all but two counties in Pennsylvania, and in most of them, he won with 60 percent to 70 percent of the vote.