NAACP says there’s “systemic racism” in the Springfield Public School District

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.—The Springfield chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People spoke out Tuesday against recent behavior shown by Kickapoo High School students.

“I do believe that they failed to take immediate action… I’m open to working with SPS but, again, we have to keep them accountable.”

-Toni Robinson, President of Springfield NAACP

A Snapchat video posted by a Kickapoo student, in which the student aims multiple racial slurs at his African American classmates, surfaced on Thursday May 9th.

“We should [expletive] lynch you,” he says to the camera. “It’s a privilege to be at our school.”

“Enough is enough,” Toni Robinson, President of the Springfield NAACP responded on Tuesday.

Robinson claims the district’s response to the video wasn’t severe enough. As for why the school would holding back, Robinson blames “systemic racism”.

“I do believe that they failed to take immediate action… I’m open to working with SPS but again we have to keep them accountable,” Robinson told reporters Tuesday.

According to a statement released on the night of the Snapchat video’s discovery, SPS “applied the maximum scope of discipline, as outlined by our district’s handbook, for the student who made and posted the video.”

The statement, attributed to Kickapoo Principal Dr. Bill Powers, goes on.

“The law does not allow us to be specific on the disciplinary actions we have taken, but I assure you that it is significant and appropriate.”

Tuesday, Robinson says the NAACP heard from students who say they no longer feel safe going to Springfield Public Schools. Furthermore, Robinson argues these concerns will be overlooked due to a lack of diversity on the Springfield School Board.

Springfield Public Schools responded to the claims made by Robinson in a statement released on Tuesday evening.

“Springfield Public School joined our community partners in attending today’s NAACP press conference to listen and to acknowledge the pain, fear and anger that racism and bigotry have

caused for our students and their families. We seek to learn more about individual experiences and understand them more deeply, and we offer our unyielding support and steadfast resolve to address these complex issues. We respect today’s opportunity for our community partners to be heard and we commit to processing the feedback they shared. We will continue working with partners to identify action opportunities and to establish timelines for next steps. Our message remains clear: We are in this together; we will not tolerate racism, bigotry or disrespect in any form; and we will speak out against inappropriate behavior and take necessary action in support of our students at every opportunity. Moving forward as a community, we must remain focused on collaborating to build a stronger culture of inclusivity that supports all students.”

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