Photo Credit: Syracuse.com

A Black Syracuse, New York  mother said her  son’s first day of school was ruined by a racist prank pulled by a school security guard.  Brandiss Pearson says a white school security guard forced her 12-year-old son with Down syndrome to pose for a photo in a way that made it look like the boy was being frisked.

Pearson says she and son Brandon stopped in a hallway to snap pictures. She says the guard turned Brandon to face the wall and lifted Brandon’s hands above his head on the wall, as if to be frisked. She said the security guard was laughing and said: “Now take the picture. He’s in the right position.”

From Syracuse.com:

The insinuation went over Brandon’s head. He kept smiling. But his family members were stunned, Pearson said. They hurried Brandon off to his classroom to meet his teacher and say their goodbyes. Only after she got home did Pearson stop to process what had happened.

“I was shaking, just like fire-breathing mad,” she said. ”All he saw was a little black boy who needed to assume the position.”

Pearson is a registered nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital Heath Center. She is studying for a master’s degree at Upstate University. She’s on the board of directors for Home HeadQuarters.

“Nothing that I’ve accomplished can change what some people see,” she said.

Pearson’s father snapped a picture of Brandon in the offensive position, but later deleted it from his phone because it made him angry. “He said he did not want to relive that moment one more second,” Pearson said.

Pearson reported the incident to Huntington’s principal Tuesday afternoon. She tearfully confronted the security guard, or school sentry, Wednesday when she saw him in the hallway. He responded that he thought it was “a funny joke,” she said.

The Syracuse school district has since suspended the guard.


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  • Anthony

    Suspension is not good enough, the guard needs to be fired! Anyone who would be little special needs children for any reason does not deserve to have a job around children. The fact this person is racist makes he did even more revolting.

  • jerseygirl

    My heart goes out for this mom and this young man. We are all born with basic dignity (worthy of respect). This dignity cannot be earned. The first tragedy is that people do not respect all who are worthy of respect. And the second tragedy is that some people think dignity can be earned. This mother and her child by virtue deserved respect. It just hurts my heart that we think we can do something more to earn the respect of people who are so f*cked up and don’t even understand what common human dignity is. We already “earned” it by our very existence. When the mom says “Nothing that I’ve accomplished can change what some people see,” I am just livid that she felt she had to even try. We cannot and should not endure this one-sided labor in an effort to change their minds because it is not we who are wrong, though it is we who bear the brunt.

    I know that leaves us clearly unsatisfied. Any further obligation I feel is not to change their minds but an obligation to my own people by calling bigots out publicly on their behavior and seeking serious consequences and reparations for that behavior. It is about holding my peers to higher standards in whatever setting I can and honing in on what this injustice is really about. I sadly don’t think plain education will change minds, but different rearing and experiences will. It shouldn’t be just taboo to express racism, it should cause every one of us to judge the humanity of racists. That’s the kind of behavior that reduces one’s own dignity in my opinion.

    • Anthony

      That was a beautiful post.

  • 1989

    This, plus countless more examples, are why we need more schools designed for specifically for black children. This paper is a little old but I think we need to see this spread:

    African American students are thriving in Afro-centric schools