Arzell is a 14 year old bi-racial student at a middle school in Harrah, Oklahoma. Like the broader community, Arzell is one of the only non-white students at his school. Continuously throughout the school year he has been bullied by students AND faculty members. The school administration has been made fully aware but refuses to enforce their "no-tolorance" policy.
Here is a list of some of the things that Arzell has endured this year:
1. He has had a knife pulled on him and threatened by a fellow student while attending a school football game. (We know who the student is)
2. He has had paper towels thrown at him by a teacher after getting sick in class. This teacher not only chastised him, but punished him for getting sick after pleading with the teacher to allow him to call his foster mother. The teacher refused and Arzell was punished.
3. He has been repeatedly been called a "nigger" by classmates in and out of school.
4. His foster brothers have had "nigger-lover" and other racist images plastered all over their facebook walls.
5. His gym teacher had his class play a game of "Smear the Queer" which a student asked the teacher if they could play "Smear the Nigger" instead. The students then jumped on Arzell with the teacher allowing it. When Arzell protested, he was punished and told to "Man Up." Arzell was injured, and currently walks with a limp.
The instances of bullying around the nation is troubling. Left unchecked, it often leads to severe injuries, severe emotional problems, and as of late, children committing suicide.
The problem in this case is not only children engaging in the bullying, but the acquiescence of the parents in the community and the educators that are tasked with maintaining a safe environment for our children. Harrah, Oklahoma is known by many that live in the town, and out as a very intolerant town with regards to the issue of race and sexual orientation. Although there are many members of the community that do not hold these views their silence has allowed the vast majority to paint them all in this negative light. NO MORE.
We want the Harrah Public School System actually follow their "no-tolerance" policy and apply it to ALL students.
We want them to hold ALL students AND TEACHERS accountable for racial, homophobic, or any other act of bullying.
We want the Harrah School Board to force their teachers and principals to undergo diversity training.
We want a personal and public apology to Arzell and his foster family, for allowing them to go through what they have.
Arzell's 4 foster brothers are always try to protect him. Often to their own harassment. Despite the insults, jabs, and racial intimidation, they are all strong kids and are standing up for what is right. Beth Winsted, the foster mother, is a very strong and caring woman who opened her home to Arzell. She has been fighting the school he attends all year for Arzell's protection. They have continuously ignored her. Both Beth and Arzell need everyone's help.
We ask that everyone PLEASE sign our petition. The school does not want to hear Arzell's cries. We need to make this public; nationally if possible. We will be holding a rally to bring to light Arzell's school, and the broader Harrah, Oklahoma community's promotion of racial intolerance which has led Arzell's bullying.
The school could care less about Arzell's bullying. Apparently, It doesn't rise to the level where they should care. So If they won't hear Arzell, Beth, and Arzell's foster brothers, then they need to hear it from all of us.
With everyone yelling along side him, Arzell wants the Town of Harrah, Oklahoma, the School Board, and his bullies to answer this question....CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?!?
Thank you for your support
Malik Leigh, Esq.
Beth Winsted and her 4 sons