A fifth-grader has become the victim of racism by his white classmates at his school in Chelsea, Alabama.
Taylor Armbrester, a 10-year-old black student, told AL.com that he’s been consistently punched, kicked and called demeaning names by bullies at Chelsea Park Elementary School, which he transferred to in the fall.
The most recent incident reported happened on May 9 during lunch. Taylor told the local outlet in the video above that one of his classmates recited a “Roses are Red” poem to him in a blatant attempt to degrade him because of his race.
“Roses are red, violets are blue, I am white, you should be, too. Roses are red, violets are blue, I am white, why aren’t you? Roses are red, violets are blue, God made me pretty, what happened to you?” Taylor recalled the boy telling him.
On that same day, a girl he considers a friend noticed him playing basketball and asked him to pass her the ball to shoot. Instead of shooting, she threw the ball at him, causing one of his fingers to break. His mom, Shaneka Phillips, told the outlet that she had to take him to the emergency room.
The school’s assistant principal, Mary Anderson, and a guidance counselor met with Phillips and her son to discuss the ongoing issue on Friday. A counselor also met with a student who admitted to being mean to Taylor.
Anderson told AL.com that racial bullying isn’t an issue at Chelsea Park Elementary and called Taylor’s allegations “an isolated case.”
“We have children of all races,” she said of the school, which has one Pacific Islander student, 23 Asian students, 40 Latinx students, 88 black students and 715 white students, according to the outlet.
Phillips said she felt better after the school handled her son’s case, but it’s still been upsetting for her to see her “sweet kid” deal with bullying. “This is what he’s expecting out of life so far,” she said.
Other instances of racial bullying in school have made headlines recently. On Friday, a 15-year-old black girl said that she was spit on and called a racial slur by bullies at a Cornelius, North Carolina, high school. She was also sent to the hospital with a concussion due to a student throwing a gym ball at her head, her mom told WSOC. She said that her daughter’s mood has drastically changed and that after taking a suicide assessment, a clinician is going to “watch her closely.”