Family speaks out after racial bullying at Hiawatha High School

The family of a 14-year-old is speaking out after a recent case of racial bullying in Hiawatha.

Posted: Sep 13, 2019 10:00 PM
Updated: Sep 14, 2019 9:21 AM

(HIAWATHA, Kan.) The family of a 14-year-old high school freshman has turned to social media after they said she was the victim of racial bullying.

"It's just sad that in 2019 things have not progressed as they should have," Livia Grier, the victim's adopted sister said. 

Grier said her adopted sister has been the subject of racial bullying for years throughout middle school, saying kids regularly called her the "N" word. 

Now that she’s in high school the victim's mother says the bullying has only gotten worse.

"There’s a line that’s been crossed here," Brooke Grier, the victim's mother said. 

Recently, the family said photos were posted to social media which depict the girl in inappropriate and demeaning ways. One photo compared her to a gorilla, another associated her with excrement.

For the girl’s family, the pictures are repulsive,

"It’s just nauseating to me and its disgusting," Grier said. 

The victim's family responded to the cyberbullying by posting the pictures to twitter, they said their goal was to spread awareness and concern.

"My hopes were that people would be outraged and that we would have some action would be taken," Grier said. 

The family said the Hiawatha School District hasn't done enough to address the issue with their daughter, they cited that as the reason for posting the photos.

"We had so many times in the past gone to the school and they hadn’t done anything," Grier said. "I knew that if complete strangers would reach out and see the hatred that was being spewed to my sister, other actions would be taken."

Those responsible for posting the photos have since been suspended according to the family, however, they feel the district was slow to act. 

The Hiawatha School District released a statement saying they became aware of the most recent incident involving the photos on Wednesday, in it they included their policy on racial harassment. 

It reads in part: 

"If discrimination or harassment has occurred, the district will take prompt remedial action to prevent reoccurrence."

Grier said the district reacted only after her daughter posted the photos, the victim's mother said she felt the school should have acted quicker. 

"I think it was dealt with lightly," Brooke said. "It wasn't taken seriously."

Lyvia said the community of Hiawatha is kind and loving and does not stand for racial mistreatment, she also said she was happy to see her post spurring positive change. 

"Even though it took this to realize what they were doing needed more action," She said. "I’m glad that it happened."

The Hiawatha School District was not available for comment. 

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