Education

Karen calls police on 12-year-old student during virtual art class

Isaiah Elliott| Courtesy of Elliott family


Published 09/08/2020 | Reading Time 2 min 18 sec
By Nehemiah D. Frank, founding publisher and editor-in-chief

While we have White police officers shooting and killing Black Americans, oftentimes with full impunity, we have 12-year-old Black boys getting the police called on them and suspended for having toy guns in their bedrooms during at-home virtual learning sessions. Yes, Black students’ policing continues even while our Black sons and daughters are absent from physical school buildings during this COVID-19 outbreak.

In Colorado Springs, Colorado, Isaiah Elliott, 12, who also has attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), had school resource officers (SRO) and local authorities called to his home when a toy gun was visibly seen on his desk during his virtual art class.

Yes, y’all read that correctly. The school called the little-kids-popos on 12-year-old Isaiah for flaunting his ‘neon green’ toy gun during his virtual art class.

Let’s not forget Tamir Rice was also 12-year-old when he was murdered while playing with his toy gun by a White police officer who murdered him within 13 secs. His sister witnessed her brother bleed out in a park. 

After the lesson, the teacher notified the school’s principal, stating, “a very serious issue with waving around a toy gun.”

Subsequently, Isaiah’s mother, Dani Elliott, was notified by the school’s vice-principal, Keri Lindaman, that the local authorities had been contacted and would be conducting a health and wellness check at their family’s home.

According to an incident report, the teacher purportedly told vice-principal Lindaman that “she assumed it was a toy gun but was not certain.”

But the report neglects to explain if Isaiah’s teacher reached out to her student or Ms. Elloitt before she decided to pull a f’cking Karen on this young brotha. 🤬

I swear there are too many White teachers afraid to engage with Black parents of their students due to their own damn biases. They are afraid of encountering an angry Black woman or Black man.

The teacher could have called Isaiah’s mom, but it’s clear she doesn’t have a relationship with Ms. Elliott.

((facepalming while taking a deep breath!!!)) 🤦🏾‍♂️😤

“I had already explained to the teacher that it was a toy,” Ms. Elliott said and explained that she also informed Vice Principal Lindaman that it was a toy. “She admitted that she knew it was a toy, but Isaiah’s safety was of the utmost importance.” Sadly, the police were already headed to her home.

As if Breonna Taylor or Botham Jean’s murder-by-cop in their own damn homes weren’t enough, now Ms. Elliott had to process the inevitable: that law enforcement officers would be arriving momentarily at her home with the knowledge of possible weapons being on the premises.

I’m ready to H-O-L-L-E-R 🤯 because White America still doesn’t get it; some do, but the majority don’t. The fact that White America keeps forgetting why we’re protesting in these streets is deadly for every Black body that still walks 6-feet above.

The police arrived at Ms. Elliott’s home within an hour and a half of her son logging out of his virtual class. The school literally put this Black family into harm’s way.

After the dust settled, and local law enforcement realized there was no imminent threat to Isaiah’s life, the school informed Isaiah’s mom that virtual classes were recorded: something she was unaware of and said she would have contested had she been given that option.

The school had been recording the children without parental permission, y’all.

It’s clear that Black Americans aren’t even safe in their own home from White America’s racial biases and downright racism, nor are our children safe from having virtual Karens call the police on them.

CHIL’, this racial weathering of Black people in America seems endless at times.

Nevertheless, we shall prevail.


Nehemiah D. Frank is the founder, executive editor, and director of The Black Wall Street Times, digital news media company that believes access is the new civil right. He’s also a freelance writer, appearing in TIME Magazine, Tulsa People, and Tulsa World. Frank has been featured in the New York Times, NBC Nightly News, and more. Frank graduated with a general studies degree from Harold Washington College in Chicago, IL, and a political science degree from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and was a member and chapter president of the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society. Today, he is a blogger for Education Post, based in Chicago, IL, a national delegate for the National Parents Union, and a board member for the Tulsa World, Tulsa Press Club, and Tulsa’s Table. He is also a public school educator at a local community-led charter school and is a member of Superintendent Joy Hofmeister’s Education Task Force for Equity and Inclusion. In 2017, Frank became a Terence Crutcher Foundation honoree, a recipient of the 2017 METCares Foundation Community Impact Award, a 2018 Black Educators Fellow and gave a TED Talk at the University of Tulsa.

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