When you hear of racial injustices and hate crimes occurring across the nation, you never think about it happening down the street. You would not think of what the next step should be in handling such a serious issue when it is knocking at your front door. Well, get ready, because it is here.
During last Friday night’s football game at Lawrence High School, a black girl was urinated on by two high school students of Indian descent while being called the N-word.
My initial thoughts were — I’m shocked but not surprised. I am not surprised that still, to this day, we are dealing with this sort of behavior. I am not shocked at the perpetrators of this disturbing crime because minorities tend to have their own racial prejudices against other minorities. But, what made me more puzzled than surprised is the ages of the students involved. Of course, no one is born with these racial biases — instead, they are nurtured at the breast of injustice. They are groomed into believing that this behavior is acceptable or that is has little to no repercussions. Not only should the two offenders be reprimanded, but the parents as well.
The Lawrence Township Police Department is actively investigating the incident.
“It is alleged that racially derogatory names were being used and that someone urinated on one of the victims while using this language. As a police department, we take these incidents very seriously and will continue to investigate until all of the facts are uncovered. This type of behavior will not be condoned in our community,” according to a press release from the Lawrence Township Police Department Chief of Police Brian M. Caloiar.
Isaac Avilucea, a reporter from The Trentonian, co-wrote one of the first articles to break the story and spoke to The Rider News about his knowledge on the pending case.
“I have been able to pinpoint that I believe [the victim] to be a Lawrence Middle School student, an eighth grader. There is a video clip of what appears to be the two perpetrators, two males of Indian descent, which the police described were the suspects hurling racial slurs and death threats at a group of students,” said Avilucea.
Avilucea mentions that, because it is Friday night football and the stands are packed, it is hard to make out if anyone else was involved in the incident. The status of the students in regards to the school is still unknown, but suspension and expulsion is usually the result. Because the offenders are 17 and considered minors the case will be handled in family court. Family court is a private arena, so their identities will not be disclosed.
Lawrence Township is not immune to the conversation of hate crimes in their community. Lawrence Township Mayor Christopher Bobbitt said that at a Trenton town hall meeting addressing hate speech, he contacted the Mercer County Park Commission to remove a Swastika scrawled on a commemorative stone at a township park.
“This is why I am indifferent about the term ‘people of color’ because there is an assumption that racial injustices does not exist within other minorities. The fact that they [urinated] on the girl says a lot. This is very immature, these are high school students and a middle schooler, imagine how she must feel. It is embarrassing,” said Rikiyah Mixson, sophomore communications major.
The Lawrence Township Police Department and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office announced the arrest of two 17 year old males that reside in Lawrence Township in connection with the incident that occurred at the Lawrence High School. The 17-year-old males were charged with multiple counts of: harassment, bias, intimidation and lewdness, according to a Lawrence Township press release.
We have become numb to the inhumanity of violent and senseless crimes that takes place in this country. We live our lives desensitized to the merciless demonstrations of blatant acts of racism, hate crimes and hate speech. We seem to be paralyzed to these acts of indecency and that is truly the most alarming. We as a nation cannot allow animosity and prejudice continue to thrive as the narrative of this country as we allowed it to be for generations.
“Harassment, intimidation or bullying, like other disruptive or violent behaviors, is conduct that disrupts both a student’s ability to learn and a school’s ability to educate its students in a safe environment. Therefore, the school district will not tolerate acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying,” according to Lawrence High School’s school website. Maybe it is time for Lawrence High School to take a page from their own code of conduct.