WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - A prominent activist, author and Georgetown University professor says his six-year-old grandson was called the N-word and threatened at his elementary school in Northwest D.C.
Michael Eric Dyson says the other student involved, a first-grader at Horace Mann Elementary School who is white, told his grandson that he planned to get a gun.
“He says, ‘I’m going to go home and get my father’s gun and come back and shoot you,’” said Dyson.
A spokesman for D.C. Public Schools confirms an incident that happened in the lunchroom Tuesday is under investigation. Dyson says his grandson, Maxem, and the other student were rushing to be first in line.
“When he said, ‘I got a gun,’ I got scared,” said Maxem.
“Unfortunately this represents for us the deep and abiding roots of white supremacy that are set loose in this country,” Dyson said. “How can a six-year-old kid know to call his classmate the N-word?”
He says he and his wife went to the school along with Maxem’s father and were surprised to learn what happened with the other student.
”The child finished out the day which is incredible to me,” said Dyson.
Shayne Wells, a spokesman for the school district, says that child was spoken to by the principal after the incident, and school officials are now determining appropriate discipline and scheduling a meeting with the child’s parents. Dyson says he hopes to meet with the child’s parents this week as well.
Wells says while school officials believe a threat was made, they’re still investigating whether there was a racial slur used.
The Dyson family says this is especially difficult because they’ve been through it before.
“It reminded me of my elder grandson, Mosi, who last year was also a victim of racial epithets,” said Dyson’s wife, Marcia.
She says Mosi described feeling like he was having a heart attack when he learned what happened to his younger brother.
“Maxem felt that pain when he said all those bad words and all that aggression,” said Mosi. “I felt very bad for him that he would go in that particular way. And I just felt mad that I had to go through that way too.”
DCPS provided a statement reading:
“DCPS is committed to maintaining safe and welcoming environments for students and staff. We will provide Mann the support it needs to adequately address this issue and continue to partner with our school communities to ensure meaningful learning and positive interactions occur within all of our school buildings.”
Wells says DCPS does track the number of incidents of hate and discrimination throughout the school system. FOX 5 is working to get numbers for this year and years prior.