Transcript, Web links and Credits below.
Have you seen this horrible video from Lakeland, Florida where several white students are horribly beating a 12-year-old Black boy in a locker room of the school? First, I want to thank the thousands of you that have called the School Board and the Superintendent’s office not only to complain about the schools’ failure to protect this young boy, but their failure to communicate with the parents on how they are going to protect him moving forward. Today I want to update us on this case and tell us what’s next.
This is Shaun King and you are listening to (The Breakdown)!
Last week, Lauren and Brandon Springfield got a call from the nurse at Blake Academy in Lakeland, Florida that their son had just been in some kind of fight. That’s all they said. When Lauren got there, her son was bleeding from his mouth, bleeding from above his eyebrows, and had rapidly growing knots all over the front and back of his head.
He had been brutally assaulted.
A few hours later, a concerned neighbor sent the mom a cell phone video of the assault that parents were passing around. It wasn’t a fight. Three white children helped hold this boy down, took his glasses, kneed him, took off his shoes, then supervised the whole thing to make sure nobody helped, as another boy, MMA style, got on top of him and began mauling him with punches and elbows.
Turns out three different students, in addition to the three students who committed the assault, just sat there and filmed the whole thing.
And it was only after the whole damn country began putting pressure on people that the parents finally started to see some progress.
As of yesterday, only one student has been suspended. The school has said that more discipline is coming, but so far, it does not appear to have happened. The school has also said that they are going to discipline the teacher who failed to supervise the students or intervene during this assault.
The Superintendent and local school board member from this district have each apologized, which is progress, but the parents are simply asking for a real plan on what’s going to be done to protect their son. It’s just not too much to ask.
I have a few quick points that I wanna make.
Let me break it down (Break it down music)
- We have to keep teaching our kids to intervene and help when they see somebody being bullied or assaulted like this. Filming it is just not enough. Something about social media culture has convinced people that filming horrible people doing horrible stuff is all we need to do, but we have to do better. Three different kids just sat back and watched and filmed the whole thing. They had chance after chance to intervene. I’ve told my son and all of my daughters, who are tough as nails by the way, I’ve told them all many times that if they ever see something like this happening in school that he they will never be in trouble with me if they intervenes to step in and stop it.
- Parents — I’ll tell you what I said to each of these parents — go ALL out for your children. Lauren and Brandon are doing just that. Demand each and everything you need to see and don’t stop until you see it. The school was just going to try to pass this off as a simple fight, and let it be. They had no intention on doing right by these parents. If you think your kids are being mistreated, you have to step up for them and advocate for them and raise hell until it’s made right.
- Lastly, I wanna speak about the reality that the abuse we suffer in society warrants professional help. Truthfully, I think all Black people in America have some degree of PTSD from the harm and trauma that we’ve experienced or witnessed across our loves. But listen to me — this world is hard for all of us. See a therapist. If you have health insurance, use your counseling benefits for yourself and your family. And get professional help to guide you through things. We have trained professionals that can guide you through all of the ups and downs of life, and none of us can do this on our own.
I’ve gotta run, but I do wanna close with one final thought.
Over and over again, Facebook and Instagram deleted the social media posts that Lauren and Brandon Springfield made advocating for their son. Let me be clear. We make these platforms. Our culture drives the energy of these platforms. But over and over again, I keep hearing stories of people having their accounts shut down or their content blocked when they tried to advocate for themselves.
We need to continue to have a seat at the table with these companies to make sure they are improving their systems and policies to do right by us.
As you all can imagine, with all of the threats I receive, my family and I take our safety and security very seriously. And that begins with making sure that our home is safe, not just when we are in it, but while we’re away.
And I want that same type of safety for you, but get this, only one in five homes have home security — in great part because most companies really don’t make it easy. It can be expensive, installation can be outrageous, and sometimes the companies seem downright scammy.
Which is why my family uses SimpliSafe for home security and why I’m proud to have them as our very first sponsor right here on The Breakdown.
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The peace of mind you’re going to have knowing you have this in place is worth it alone. Let me know how it goes.
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Take care everybody.
Produced by Willis Polk II