A white school guard in Syracuse was suspended this week after parents of an African-American child with Down syndrome accused him of using their son for a racist joke.
According to the Syracuse Post-Standard, 12-year-old Brandon Pearson’s family accompanied him on his first day at Huntington K-8 School on Tuesday.
While the family was taking photos in a school hallway, a white security guard stopped them.
“Wait, wait, wait, hold on,” the guard allegedly said before he lifted the child’s hands above his head and placed them on the wall in what mother Brandiss Pearson said was a frisking position.
Brandiss Pearson recalled the guard laughing, and saying, “Now take the picture, he’s in the right position.”
Brandon did not understand what was going on, but the family was shocked.
“I was shaking, just like fire-breathing mad,” Brandon Pearson recalled. “All he saw was a little black boy who needed to assume the position.”
On Wednesday, the mother said she was in tears when she saw the guard again, and confronted him. He told her that the incident was “a funny joke,” she said.
Syracuse City School District spokesperson Michael Henesey confirmed on Wednesday that the guard had been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation. Both Henesey and Brandiss Pearson declined to identify the employee.
“We are in receipt of the complaint filed against one of our school sentries,” a statement from Henesey said. “The school district has begun an internal investigation into the alleged complaint. The school sentry in question has been placed on administrative leave while the district conducts the investigation. We will not be releasing any more information at this time.”
[Photo: back of a security guard isolated on white (Credit: Shutterstock.com)]