Collierville Schools addressing race relations after racial slur left on girl’s desk

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COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. — Pastors, parents and community leaders are speaking out about race relations, unity and a safer environment for students at Collierville High School.

This comes after a student found the n-word written on her desk on Tuesday.

Pastor Linwood Dillard addressed race relations and stricter punishment for students during the Collierville School Board meeting after his 15-year-old found the n-word written on her desk.

"It's obvious that there's still some sense of racism in the hallways of our great school, and those things need to be addressed and need to be at a level of zero tolerance," he said. "She said, 'I'm annoyed, because this happens every year.' What that says to me is there are obviously other instances she's experienced that she hasn't shared with us."

What the teen and her brother have shared with their parents is disturbing.

"My daughter, her name was placed on a kill/death list, and we were left in the dark to what really happened and unsure about her safety. My son was called the n-word by another student and the principal just called us and said, 'Hey, this happened.' That was it," Dillard said.

Board members listened to the comments, but the chairman read a statement afterwards.

"The Collierville School Board condemns racism in all of its forms and manifestations. We also condemn the use of racist language and are committed to removing such language from use in all of our schools," the chairman said.

He went on to say they will continue to create a culture where students are treated fairly and equally.

Parents say that's not specific enough.

"Those in authority only show sympathy and empathy, but not true response - no true outrage. You position the victim to have to go through this over and over again," Pastor LatDoir Glasper, with Kingdom Life Church in Olive Branch, said.

The pastor says some of these same acts ran his family out of Collierville to DeSoto County.

He says students should be suspended or even expelled. Parents also want mandatory diversity training with students and staff.

"Aggressive action, it's not a kids will be kids thing. Certain things cannot have any room for tolerance," Pastor Glasper said.

Parents are hopeful and optimistic, but they are organizing a town hall.

They plan to invite the mayor, the school board, parents, teachers and students.

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