According to his family, the black high school student started fighting his white classmate after undergoing racial bullying. According to the boy’s mother, the racism he met was the crest of a wave of racism that persisted throughout the school district.
According to the mother, the white student verbally abused her with racial slurs for months. The local school system continues to drop the ball when it comes to racism, with racist acts against students being pushed to the side as if they don’t exist, according to the student’s mother.
Ras Russell, a 15-year-old student from Massachusetts, allegedly attacked his white classmate after months of being taunted with insults such as “go back to Africa” and “go pick cotton.”
According to the Enterprise, another student allegedly filmed the alleged fight, which showed 15-year-old Russell kicking and punching the other student, who was not identified. The other student suffered a broken collarbone and other injuries as a result of the alleged attack.
The 15-year-old high school and STEM academy student was charged with one count of assault with a dangerous weapon, one count of assault and battery, and one count of larceny. The white student was charged with assault and battery as well, but not with a felony crime, as reported by Chattanooga Daily News.
According to his attorney, the dangerous weapon charge is based on Russell’s shoes, which he was wearing at the time of the fight.
Both students were initially suspended for five days, according to the CC Times, after which the white student was allowed to return. During an interview with WXTK, Paula Gould, the superintendent of the school, stated that a horrific remark was made the night before the fight. According to her, the remark was made while the students were online playing video games.
Paula Gould reportedly said: “The next day, the student in question made a decision to find the student who made the comment in order to physically take matters into his own hands. Only after the fight did the administration learn why he made the decision to fight the student, sending him to get medical care, without one punch returned. His choice, plus the severity of the injuries to the other student, made the incident a police matter. But as adults, we must reiterate to our youth that violence is not the way to handle it.”
According to reports, the superintendent admitted that Russell, who is Black and Native American, was subjected to racial bullying and that the student who made the remark before being beaten up had been disciplined.
However, Russell’s family claims that the white student was allowed to return to school before Russell. Marguerite Ormon, Russell’s aunt, wanted it made clear that her nephew was the original victim in this case.
She reportedly told WBZ News Radio: “My nephew was called on several occasions, and they have that in texts, ‘N—r.’ This child endured that, he’s a child. He’s not mature enough to know all the full consequences of that explosion that happened after months of this type of language and this type of bullying happening.”
Russell’s mother, Paulene Jones, stated that the racism her son encountered was the crest of a wave of racism that remained throughout the school district. The woman also claimed that her entire family had been subjected to racism, dating back to September 2021, when her garage door was covered in red paint.
According to the mother, the verbal harassment began in February and proceeded to slurs and threats sent via text message and online gaming sessions.
Paulene Jones reportedly said: “The student kept calling him the N-word and said he was going to send him back to Africa to pick cotton. Ras gave the child a chance to say he was sorry, during the online gaming session, but the kid said no and that he would see him tomorrow in school.”
Russell will be supported by a school counselor when he returns, as well as academic assistance to meet needs caused by his absence, according to superintendent Paula Gould.
James Mulcahy, the principal of the high school and STEM Academy, issued a statement in which he stated that his goal is to get Russel back in school. The principal also stated that the entire school district has issues and that they are taking steps to implement Anti-Defamation League programs to help teach students how to deal with these issues.