Sixty years after the heinous murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till, it is still a crime for a young Black boy to stare too long at a young white girl in America.
At least the officials at St. Gabriel Consolidated School in Glendale, Ohio, think so. And now the parents of the 12-year-old boy are filing a suit in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court to have their son’s suspension lifted and his record expunged.
According to Fox19, the incident happened back in September 2014, when the two students were engaged in a “staring game.” “The perception is he intimidated her,” said Candice Tolbert, the boy’s mother who did not want her son interviewed on camera.
The parents of the boy claim their son was not given a just process. During an interview with the local news station, the Tolberts explained that the event happened on a Monday. On Tuesday, the girl’s parents notified the school of the incident and their son was suspended immediately and was required to write an apology letter for which they didn’t find out about until Wednesday.
In the court documents obtained by the station, the young girl claimed she “felt fearful” when he stared her down. Meanwhile, the boy in question wrote in his apology letter, “I never knew she was scared because she was laughing.” He went on to write, “I understand I done the wrong thing that will never happen again. I will start to think before I do so I am not in this situation.”
“Judge Patrick Dinkelacker listened to the plaintiff’s arguments yesterday, rejected them and dismissed the complaint against the school,” a statement provided by the Catholic School stated. “We aren’t going to comment any further on particular issues concerning our students.”
Although some may believe the issue is clearly a racial one, the Tolberts aren’t so fast to pull the race card. They are concerned about how their son was treated versus another student in an incident with the same female student.
“The same girl that accused my son of this act of perception of intimidation aggressively poured milk on someone else’s lunch,” Tolbert reported to the news station. “When she did that, there was no penalties for that. She received nothing for that.”
In the school’s rulebook, the principal has the final say on issuing punishments, but the Tolberts are still deciding whether to appeal the judge’s decision.