by Roberto Alejandro
Special to the NNPA from The Afro-American Newspaper
A Black family taking pictures of their son – who has Down’s syndrome – on his first day of school was interrupted by a White school security guard, who proceeded to ridicule the 12-year-old, the boy’s mother said.
Brandiss Pearson told the Post-Standard of Syracuse, N.Y., they were taking photographs in front of a mural at the school, when the guard approached and turned her son around, placed his hands above his head as though he were being detained and searched, and said, “Now take the picture; he’s in the right position.”
While the episode caught the family off-guard, it was when she got home that Pearson was able to fully acknowledge what had happened, she said.
“I was shaking… just like fire-breathing mad. All he saw was a little Black boy that needed to assume the position,” Pearson told the Post-Standard.
After investigating the incident, which occurred on Sept. 2, the Syracuse school district fired the security guard, who has not been identified. The school district put out a press release announcing the firing on Sept. 5.
The document stated in part: “After a review of all statements and actual video footage, the employee in question has been terminated by the District. The District affirms its commitment to provide positive, supportive and safe environments for all students and staff. The poor judgment and thoughtless actions of one employee should not reflect upon the overwhelming majority of the Syracuse City School District’s educators and support staff who give selflessly to our 21,000 students each and every day.”