‘You’re my favorite monkey’ – Outrage after student gives classmate racist drawings

Francis Akhalbey February 23, 2023
A student at Pepper Tree Elementary School gave her former Black classmate racist drawings -- Photo via KTLA

A parent has withdrawn her daughter from California’s Pepper Tree Elementary School after a former classmate gave her drawings with racist phrases. The mother of the Black student told KTLA that she decided to withdraw her from the school because the Upland Unified School District did not do enough to tackle the continued harassment students at the school subjected her daughter to.

Parents of students at the elementary school also want answers after they became aware of the racist drawings. One of the drawings was phrased, “You’re my favorite monkey.” A different one was also phrased, “To my favorite cotton picker.”  

Parents who have their children enrolled at the school also said there have been occasions where students have said racist things to their daughters. “They said that they were going to give her (a drawing) that specifically said, ‘You’re my favorite slave,’ and they were going to show her as a slave hanging from a tree,” Maylana Douglas said.

The parents also cited another incident where a group of girls allegedly told their daughter they were going to give her back rubs and massages to mark Black History Month. “It’s your month, you’re entitled to back rubs,” Rome Douglas said in reference to what the girls told their daughter. “And apparently, someone told her, well, maybe only half the month because you’re only half Black.”  

This recent incident adds up to other episodes where Upland students have been targets of racism, KTLA reported. Last year, a teacher at a different school in the same district was placed on administrative leave for making comments that were deemed to be anti-Asian. The incident happened as the school was celebrating the Lunar New Year.

The principal of Pepper Tree Elementary addressed the racist drawings in a letter to parents. But that was two weeks after the incident happened. District officials also posted a video on YouTube a day after the letter was sent.

“I want to make it perfectly clear that we have a strict zero tolerance policy on any type of hate speech, harassment,” Sherman Garnett, who is the Upland USD Board President, said in the video. 

But the school’s PTA president, Robin Allen, said she’s “hoping that the district does not brush this under the rug as they’ve brushed issues under the rug in the past.”

The school did not disclose if the student who made the drawings will face disciplinary action. It cited privacy laws.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: February 23, 2023


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