Parent seeks solutions in now viral schoolyard incident
A Geismar mother is seeking solutions in regards to what she is calling an incident that involved repeated verbal and physical attacks on her 8-year-old son, Jordan, at his school.
Jordan's mother, Alana Jackson, alleges that on Monday, Nov. 14, her son was on the playground after school hours at Spanish Lake Primary, along with his 4-year-old sister, J'Niaha, while they waited for her to bring them home for the day. An incident broke out between Jordan and another elementary-aged boy - a teacher's child - when the other child is said to have begun throwing mulch at Jordan. According to Jackson, Jordan asked the child to stop to no avail. At that point, Jackson said the other child's 13-year-old brother approached Jordan.
"He came up to him and pushed my son down," Jackson said.
Jordan is said to have walked away from the incident, but returned upon noticing mulch was being thrown at his sister, J'Niaha, by the younger child under the command of the 13-year-old. A fight broke out between Jordan and the younger child when the 13-year-old again approached Jordan. At this time, it is alleged that a previously un-involved fourth grade student entered the incident saying to Jordan: 'You need to go back to the cotton farm.'
"My son, who understands the connotation of that statement because we've had those conversations before, was appalled, so he said 'that's racist.' The child responded 'why do you think it's so racist? You do need to go back to the cotton farm.' So at that point my son began to try to defend himself because the 13-year-old was pushing him down and calling him a baby," Jackson said.
It is then that Jackson said her son sustained the injuries - a fractured right humerus and what would later be diagnosed as post-concussion syndrome.
A fifth grade student, who is said to have witnessed the entire account, walked Jordan to the classroom where Jackson was, and informed her of the events. There were no adult witnesses to the event, however surveillance footage is available and is being used by the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office for their investigation. An investigation is underway, said an APSO spokeswoman.
Jackson said this isn't Jordan's first time being assaulted at the school, and in fact, it is the third incident he has had in a year's time. She said he was profanely spoken to by a janitor last school year and was physically assaulted in October. Upset by the amount of altercations Jordan has experienced, Jackson said she took to Facebook.
"Today my 8 year old son had to physically defend himself and his sister on the playground after a 13 year old boy slammed him to the ground breaking his arm & giving him a concussion, a 6 year old threw mulch at them, and a 9 year old told him to "Go back to the cotton farm!" Now you tell me...as a parent, how do I not feel hurt? As an African American, how do I not take offense? As a Christian, how do I not seek love? I am disappointed that our culture has exhibited the behavior that makes our children believe that this type of behavior is acceptable. I am saddened that we have come so far yet are still so far away. I am discouraged that many have given up even though we are so far from finished. Yet I am hopeful that God is still in control. #TakeHeed #LearningOpportunityForEveryone #FromTheMouthOfBabes #WhatAreYourBabiesSpeaking,"Jackson posted.
The next day, Tuesday, Nov. 15, Jackson said she received a call from the school and obliged a conference request. She said the principal was very apologetic, but released the school from liability as the incident took place outside of school hours and involved a non-student.
"At that point, we didn't know the severity of Jordan's injuries," Jackson said. "We told the principal we understood that if that's all they could legally do, then that was fine, but we said 'because that's all you can do, we feel that is not an appropriate response.' Issuing an apology, we felt, wasn't an appropriate consequence for the actions displayed."
Jackson said she called the sheriff's office while at the school. She said that the responding officer advised her that the school would be responsible and that she should present medical expenses to the school. However when she returned with her bills, the school refuted responsibility.
Later that evening, Jackson said she and husband were made aware of Jordan's injuries, both physical and emotional.
Jackson said she has spoken to other school officials, including the superintendent, who she said were all apologetic and willing to assist.
Ascension Public Schools superintendent David Alexander was on medical leave at the time of press, but approved the following response from his office.
"We are working with the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office to investigate an incident that reportedly took place on the grounds of Spanish Lake Primary. As the incident occurred after school and work hours between minors under the supervision of their parents, the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office has jurisdiction,” said Jackie Tisdell, Public Information Officer for Ascension Public Schools.
Jackson said it is not in her interest to cause chaos within the parish as she is a parish employee. She said she simply wants the incident tended to and for the responsible party to handle the expenses brought on by the incident.
"I am not trying to, at all, paint [school officials] as not wanting to help," Jackson said. "I do want whatever is supposed to be done - done, and it not to be swept under the rug."
The family is meeting with an attorney to discuss options, more so to determine responsibility. The story has been picked up by national media, including the social media page of journalist Shaun King, and has been shared on Facebook over 4000 times.