A young kid who used to be an energetic and interactive youngster is now shy and reserved after the headmaster of his school forced him to get down on his knees to apologize to his teacher in the “African way.” Because of what happened recently, John, the headmaster of the school, is publicly criticized for scarring the student.
The 11-year-old black student, named Trayson, was sitting in his English class when he finished his reading assignment early and decided to get a head start on the next assignment. His English teacher then began scolding him and ripped up the paper, saying he was doing the wrong assignment, according to the boy’s mother.
Trayson was marched to the headmaster’s office, where John ordered the boy to kneel and apologize to his teacher. “My son was humiliated, hurt, embarrassed, sad, and confused,” the boy’s mother, Trisha, said. “He reads about things happening because of your skin color. To experience it… he’s just trying to process it in his 11-year-old brain.”
While the punishment of the sixth-grader is disturbing enough on its own, the mother, who is a Haitian-American, was left even more shocked when she had a conversation with the headmaster over the phone regarding the incident. She couldn’t believe John described it as the “African way” of apologizing, which he picked up on after seeing a Nigerian father use it to discipline students. “Once he started mentioning this African family, that’s when it just clicked. Like, this is not normal procedure,” said Trisha. “I felt there was no relevance at all. Is he generalizing that everyone who is Black is African? That’s when I realized something is not right with this situation.”
The phone call she had with John made her believe her son, who is “a well-mannered, honor roll student,” was treated that way only because of the color of his skin. On a meeting that took place later, John told the mother, “It was a situation where your son was really disrespectful and rude to a teacher in front of the other students. The whole idea is for your son to see he can’t speak to women that way.” “If I had said to him ‘apologize and get back to class’… it would’ve meant nothing,” added John. “So it was changing the way you say ‘I apologize.'”
While talking about seeing a Nigerian father dole out the punishment to a former student, John said in the meeting, “This father came in and said, ‘you’re going to apologize to this teacher the African way, and you’re going to get down on your knees and apologize.’ I’ve never seen that before.”
John not only thought it was an appropriate way to discipline students but also claimed he would use it on his own children.”I’m sorry if you’re upset,” John told the boy’s mother. “It wasn’t a thought-out situation.”Despite all the backlash, John still “showed no remorse until he realized how it impacted my son,” Trisha said. As the school investigates the incident, John remains on temporary leave while young Trayson is left feeling “very reserved and humiliated,” and is going to therapy.