The parent of a Black charter school student is calling out the school after a white classmate reportedly hurled racial slurs at his son and flashed a rifle at several students during a FaceTime chat.
Arssante Malone, the father of a Black student attending Discovery Charter School in Durham, told NC Newsline a seventh-grade classmate called his son a "monkey" and another racial slur before showing off the firearm in the group chat. The alleged incident happened off-campus on September 17, according to the news outlet.
Malone claims the student who recorded the FaceTime chat was called into an administrator's office and told to delete the footage. Reporters said they couldn't verify if a school official did so.
Discovery Charter officials confirmed they're aware of screenshots of the group but not the recording. At least two more parents corroborated Malone's account of what happened to Newsline, as well.
“If an alleged crime has taken place, regardless of where it has taken place, on or off-campus, why wouldn’t y’all [Discovery Charter leaders] keep a record of what took place, so parents can take the necessary legal action?” Malone said he asked school leaders.
Discovery Charter Principal Toni Shellady didn't disclose whether the student was disciplined for what happened, citing student privacy laws. School leaders did say they're limited in how they can punish students for off-campus behavior.
Shellady also told parents a student did brandish a firearm during the FaceTime incident in a video address to parents:
“We had kids on a call together and two of them are getting into it, and they threatened to fight each other, and one of them does show in the background his house that there is a gun but never does it [the student] say I’m bringing a gun to school."
According to reporters, Shellady didn't mention the offending student's racist remarks in her video address. She also urged parents to not get their kids smartphones to cut down on the "mess" from off-campus cell phone usage.
Several parents say Discovery Charter has a history of handling racially-charged incidents like this poorly. Since charter schools are governed differently than traditional public schools, Malone said it's difficult to address these concerns.