If you don’t believe that America’s education system is geared toward derailing the success of black youth, then look no further than 15 year old Mississippi teen Dontadrian Bruce, who was suspended from school for waving.
In early February, Dontadrian was sent to the principal’s office, who then informed the 15 year old that he was being suspended over a photo he’d posted for a biology project in which he had three fingers raised. To the laymen’s eye, Dontadrian appears to be waving for the camera, but to principal Todd Nichols, who has no law enforcement background that we know of, Dontadrian’s wave was a gang sign.
“You’re suspended,” Nichols said, “because you’re holding up gang signs in this picture.”
You’d think once the school’s disciplinary committee convened, they would’ve corrected the principal’s harsh rush to judgement, but instead, they doubled down, recommending “indefinite suspension with a recommendation of expulsion.”
Dontadrian says he was told that his hand gesture was associated with the Vice Lords gang, but he had no idea when he took the photo. He says he was holding up the number 3 to represent the number on his jersey.
“He’s a good child…..I know what he does 24 hours a day,” said his mother, Janet Hightower.
What is most repulsive about this case is that Dontadrian was assumed guilty almost immediately and school officials handed down the harshest punishment possible.
Dontadrian’s stepfather says this would not have happened to a white student.
“I was born and raised here, graduated from Olive Branch, and I’m telling you: they would have done nothing.”
Sadly, this is nothing new. In January, BreakingBrown reported the case of two suspended Wisconsin high school basketball players for using gang signs.
The school suspended the boys and even contacted police who opened an investigation, all over this picture:
The signs that the boys were making when they posed for The Sheboygan Falls News article were actually 3 point signs, like those made by Lebron James and others, but that didn’t help their case with school officials.
Dontadrian was eventually allowed back to school, but his mother is working with the ACLU to ensure that her son’s record isn’t impacted by this incident.