Nov 5, 2013 8:01 PM by Samantha Ptashkin

Family pulls child out of Ironwood Ridge H.S. amid racial allegations

TUCSON- A Tucson family has pulled their teen out of Ironwood Ridge High School, less than a week after the family contacted News 4 Tucson about cases of racism at the school.

The case is now under investigation and the student's father, who isn't being named to protect his identity, says once that investigation started, tensions began to escalate among the students. Now he is worried about his child's safety. "There are schools all over this country that have been impacted by violence and shootings," the father says. "Who knows what this could escalate to?"

The family says their child has been the victim of hate crimes because he or she is black; everything from food thrown in the cafeteria, name calling, the 'N word' being put on Facebook and written on desks.

The district says since the investigation started a "handful" of students have been disciplined.

But the family is now one of six families at Ironwood Ridge High School who have turned to the NAACP in Tucson for help. "This situation is so alarming because we're in 2013 and you just wouldn't expect that," Clarence Boykins of the NAACP says.

The families, along with the NAACP, are trying to come up with solutions to put a stop to racism in schools. One idea includes a mandatory class for faculty in the Amphitheater Unified School District, which educates employees about ethnicity and diversity. "If teachers are more educated about ethnicity and diversity, then they can pass that along to students," the father says.

The NAACP is also thinking about hosting community forums to encourage families from other districts to come forward about cases of racism they have seen in their schools.

The Amphitheater Unified School district declined to do an on camera interview with News 4 Tucson regarding the case of racism at Ironwood Ridge High School.

Spokesperson Mindy Blake issued this statement, regarding the idea of mandatory classes on ethnicity and diversity: "We will certainly respond to any parent request we receive, but we want to give parents the courtesy of responding to them directly, rather than through the media. Having not received any requests such as you described, we do not want to respond to a hypothetical."

The father says he and other parents plan to meet with the Ironwood Ridge High School principal for the second time in the near future.


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