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.”
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.