It was over lunch at Jefferson Middle School in Albuquerque when the sixth-grader says she and her three friends approached a new student, wanting him to feel welcome at school and introduce himself.
“He said ‘I hate black people’ and we were like ‘OK.’ called like cotton pickers, then he called us all the n-word.”
To say she and her friends were hurt by what the student said is an understatement.
“They don’t look at me for who I am, but they look at me by my skin tone and my friend’s skin tone. Like, it kinda makes me sad that people really think that way,” she said.
But what he said next, according to many at school, scared her and several other black students.
“They said they were going to bring a gun to school and shoot all the black people. I was really scared and a lot of my friends came home early as soon as they heard about it or didn’t come any just not in school. It was just scary in general.”
A threat that his mother, Jessica Roybal, says should be taken seriously.
“As time goes by, unfortunately this is something we experience and worry about for our children and the school should be a safe haven for our students,” Roybal said.
It’s spread all over Jefferson. On Friday, several children called their parents and told them they did not feel safe, including students from Tranette Martin and Charles Ashley III.
“My eldest called and said ‘hey, there’s been a threat on black kids living here at school,'” Ashley said. “I turned around and picked them up from school,” Ashley said.
Now these parents are demanding that action be taken immediately.
“If there’s no discipline in response, it just starts to spread and grow,” Roybal said.
“There has to be zero tolerance and by zero tolerance the student should not be able to return to school at all,” Martin said.
“We were furious because even though it was just a threat. We should have zero tolerance for this. face,” Ashley said.
They worry about what will happen next.
“Absolutely. So much so that I’ve contacted a couple of principals of schools here and there’s a good chance our kids won’t be at Jefferson in the future until we find out what’s going on. “, said Ashley.
“I am not sending my daughter to school on Tuesday. Until they can assure me that my daughter is going to be safe and feel safe at school, I cannot send my daughter to school responsibly,” Martin said.
KOB 4 contacted Albuquerque Public Schools about a spokesperson who said “at no time were staff or students in danger.”
APS also sent a statement which reads as follows:
“APS District officials are aware of two separate student discipline issues at Jefferson Middle School this week. One incident involved a social media threat report. APS is investigating all social media threats, even reports of threats – this one included. Police investigating the report found no evidence of the threat.
In a second incident, it was reported to school staff that a student had used vulgar, objectionable and hateful racial slurs to threaten black students. This incident is also under investigation.
APS does not ignore security threats. The district, to the best of its ability, uses all personnel and resources to investigate threats and follow directions from law enforcement when further action is needed.
All APS staff and students have legal rights. APS staff are legally obligated to investigate any allegations of wrongdoing against a staff member or student.
If anyone has any information regarding any of these incidents we ask that they call APS Police at 505-243-7712 or if they wish to remain anonymous they can call CrimeStoppers at 505-843 -STOP.
Albuquerque Public Schools is committed to creating a safe and comfortable environment for everyone.”
Now, KOB 4 has also been notified that the principal of Jefferson Middle School has been placed on leave. However, the APS cannot say why or if the student will face discipline.
The parents told KOB 4 that the APS and the city held a community Zoom meeting to discuss what happened, but these parents still say the district must take action to prevent this situation from happening again. .
Students KOB 4 spoke to on Saturday said it was not the first time she and other students had faced racism in middle school.