When school officials stumbled upon a social media video of high school student Micah Speed fighting another student, he was suspended.
The Instagram video was shared on Friday. Wake Forest High School officials say the altercation recording, and suspended Speed for 10 days, WTVD reported.
On the video, Micah is seen pulling a male classmate to the ground. But, according to many of his other classmates, Speed had been dealing with the other student’s derogatory comments and racial slurs for no less than two months.
Now, many of students at the North Carolina high school have taken part in staged protests on his behalf. They believe Micah Speed was wrongly punished. They’re hoping the organized sit-ins at the Stadium Drive high school will bring attention to the racism he suffered before the altercation and suspension.
“Actually that day he told me I should name my kids crack head and convict because that’s what they would grow up to be.”
He added the other student in the video threatened his mother and sister, and then followed him out of the classroom.
“A lot of people know me and know I like to avoid confrontation,” Speed told the news station, adding he at first tried to let his alleged bully walk away.
The other student responded with a racial slur and that’s when Speed threw him on the ground, twice.
“I was just pushed over the breaking point,” he told WTVD.
School officials on Monday reduced Speed’s suspension to five days and are investigating the incident.
In addition to their protests, Speed’s classmates have also been circulation a petition that requests the other student in the video be suspended in addition to demanding racism and bullying be addressed by the school’s administration — it has more than 1,300 signatures.
Yolanda Speed, Micah’s mother, said she would not excuse the fact that her son got physical with another student, but defended his motivations.
“People are under the assumption that it was OK for him to put his hands on that young man. It was never OK,” she said. “But you have to understand that there is always going to be a reaction to an action.”
She continued: “At the end of the day, [Micah] has to take responsibility for what he did, but then when you continue to have these issues going on in a classroom and it’s not taken care, that’s my problem.
Speed said he reported the other student’s racially-charged harassment to teachers on three different occasions.