A black student attending Zion Christian Academy, an elite private school in Williamson County, Tennessee has changed schools after an incident involving a white student who took photos of himself emulating a white nationalist. The boy took a photo of himself giving a Nazi salute while holding a piece of paper fashioned to look like a Ku Klux Klan mask. It was meant for the student to see on Snapchat.
His mother, Cathy Leach said Friday that her son, who is black, will no longer attend the private Christian school after several incidents of racial bullying.
“There were comments and jokes being made,” she said. “He reported it but nothing was being done. He has some recordings of things they say because he wants something done about it.” He reported that his peers had called him the “n word” on several occasions.
She contacted the local news, WKRN-TV Nashville after her son showed her the picture of the student in the KKK mask. It had been shared by students on Snapchat.
“When I got the picture, something had to be done,” she said. “It was hurtful and just unbelievable that we are still going through this. It’s 2014.” (See below.)
Headmaster Don Wahlman told the news that he met with faculty about the photo incident after school Wednesday.
“We started an investigation to see the accuracy of the picture to make sure what we were seeing was accurate and we had the right facts in place,” he said. “We had a faculty meeting right after school to address this issue and just talk about the problem.”
In fact, the child’s mother met with Zion Christian Academy’s headmaster last Thursday morning, walking away with a belief that things would be handled professionally. On Friday, however, she pulled her son out of school after he received text messages from angry students who thought it would be best if he did not come back.
As far as the headmaster, he doesn’t seem to fully grasp that the problem is more than one student’s actions. It is unclear what actions the school intends to take to make any future black students feel welcome or how they plan to teach diversity. He’s worried about the image of his Christian school, of course, because isn’t that what’s important here?
“It’s so sad that our school name is being destroyed by the actions of a student who made a tragic mistake. This is not Zion Christian Academy. If you walked our halls and talked with our students you’d see that this is not who we are. We are praying that God blesses this student in his new school.”