Cullman City school board prez's kid chants ‘white power’ as racism plagues AL district

Parents fuming after board doesn't act over viral video of President's son, just the latest in a series of incidents at Cullman City School District


                            Cullman City school board prez's kid chants ‘white power’ as racism plagues AL district
The office of the Cullman City Board of Education (Cullman City website) with an insert of Amy Carter (Facebook)

The Cullman City School District in Alabama has become the latest to be embroiled in scandal after it emerged the board's President's son used a racist slur. The lack of inaction by the district has left parents fuming, and many have them have now opened up about the open racism in the district, highlighting just how hard it is to be Black in the Alabama district. 

In early November, the Danvers High School in Massachusetts made headlines for attempting to bury a racist, homophobic hazing tradition, before it was exposed by the media. Then days later, police were roped in to investigate a video from the Prior Lake High School in Savage, Minnesota. In the video, a student can be heard mocking a Black student's suicide attempt, before being exposed by the victim in the press. In late September, a Missouri school came under fire after a group of students posted an online petition calling for the return of slavery.

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Racist behaviours have skyrocketed all over the US, but especially in schools over the past several years. It's part of a larger trend in the increase of hate crime, especially targeted towards race. FBI data shows over 3,900 such incidents in 2019, which shot up to over 5,200 in 2020. It's left parents not just worried for their children's safety, but also their own. To make matters worse, it appears the Cullman City district isn't too keen on addressing its racism issues.

Prez's son says 'kill all the n------s'

The 11-second video taken recently, shows the school district’s president Amy Carter's son exhibiting racist behaviour. He reportedly chanted "white power" and "kill all the n-----s," while being filmed by another student. It quickly circulated amongst the students of the district, and very soon parents got involved. "Tell me how he wouldn’t be threatened by KILL ALL THE Ns?! Explain to me how this is not a threat," one parent wrote in an email to the district.

Carter has since defended her son, telling AL.com that he was mimicking a TikTok video, but wasn't aware he was being recorded. He only became aware of it four days later, after receiving it on Snapchat. Carter called her son "the kindest child you would ever meet" and said he was "devastated that his words harmed other people." She called the video a "terrible error in judgement." 

However, parents didn't seem too happy with that explanation. On November 17, they flooded a board meeting with complaints, leading to the meeting being adjourned. To make matters worse, despite being made aware of the video on November 4, the district is yet to act, which has only infuriated parents further.

History of racism and inaction recorded

The school district has said it cannot act on the matter because the video was recorded off-campus. Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff said there was "no specific policy in reference to off-campus speech." He provided the same response to another fuming parent's email, saying his hands were tied. But board member Jocelyn Logan isn't too happy with that. Logan email the board her plan to contract the US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. "It seems to me that this may be our only option as the system isn’t willing to protect all students," she said.

Cullman City Schools superintendent Kyle Kallhoff. (Cullman City Schools website)

 

The video isn't the only instance of racism, which has further infuriated Logan. While Logan and her husband are White, they have a Black son enrolled at the school according to The Daily Beast. She claims her son was regularly called the n-word, a monkey, and even teased about his skin colour. Last year, one student used the username 'Nick Gurr' during a quiz on the app Kahoot. "The history of racism in this community is so rampant that most Black people in the state of Alabama won’t even stop here for gas," she told The Beast. 

In 2020, Kallhoff was named as a defendant in a lawsuit by parents who alleged racism and bullying led their 9-year-old to commit suicide, while he was superintendent of the school in Demopolis, Alabama. Logan said the district was merely "sweeping it under the rug, and covering it up and ignoring it," rather than addressing it. She now wants both Kallhoff and Carter to resign. 

Since the incident, Kallhoff claimed it had been addressed, and that he was consulting with state leaders on further action, but provided no timeline. In the meantime, it's unclear if Carter's son was suspended. Kallhoff said he couldn't comment on that due to "federal and state regulations." But justice may be hard to come by, as Logan's own son conceded. "It’s not like they will do anything about it," he reportedly told his mom. 

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