"How am I going to send my son back to Wake Forest is what I want to know? Because there are people there … I am sending him back to the shooting range is what I'm doing. So I'm totally clueless. I really don't know what to do," Yolanda Speed, mother of 15-year-old Wake Forest High student Micah Speed, told CBS WNCN last week.
A 31 second clip on Instagram of a fight involving Micah has been making the rounds online. Watching the clip, you'd probably pin her son as the fight's instigator, but according to Mrs. Speed, Micah's actions were the result of months of racist bullying and threats from the fight's actual provocateur.
Yolanda Speed did not defend her son's actions, telling the Washington Post that her son's decision to violently engage his bully was wrong, but that she also understands that when words like "you black piece of shit" and "I'm going to kill you and your family" are constantly in your ear, turning the other cheek becomes increasingly difficult.
“This is a kid who has been picking on me for two months plus,” Micah told CBS, “This is a kid that I have walked away from every single situation. And you’re going to say that I attacked him I got pushed over the edge when he said I’m going to kill you and your family?”
Micah, who is a starter on the football team, has inspired many who have seen the slur- and profanity-filled video. His fellow Wake Forest students launched a protest and a walk out upon hearing his 10-day suspension.
According to Mrs. Speed, the alternation was incited by a video the other teen involved in the fight took of himself shooting a shotgun. The other student allegedly told Micah to imagine that the bullets were hitting the Speed family.
Apparently, statements like this were commonly made to Micah, some even within earshot of teachers. Yet nothing was done.
In a statement, Wake Forest High School reiterated their strict no bullying policy. However, the National Center for Education Statistics says that Wake County Public School System has yet to make anyone available to discuss racial issues at the school, where 74 percent of students are white and 23 percent identify as black.
Micah, who's lowest grade this year has been a B, is afraid that his suspension will force him to miss so many classes that his grades will suffer. A petition on change.org has been launched demanding that school officials rescind Micah’s suspension. As of this reporting, it has been signed by nearly 40,000 people.
It is unclear whether or not the other teen involved in the altercation was suspended; however, after hearing that Micah was provoked by racial slurs, his school reduced his suspension to five days.
The other teen has yet to make a statement.