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Defending My Son Against Racism

Daffeh Fatou

Daffeh FattouWhen my son went to public school, some children tore his books and bullied him. They made fun of his name and called him an “African Boodie Scratcher”! One boy kept making fun of his name and changing the letters around to something very rude. The teacher didn’t do anything. She said that my son was being a troublemaker. But he never started any of the trouble!

It happened more than 10 times. We had many meetings with the teacher about this problem. She never did anything to help. If this same thing happened with other people, I think the teacher would have done something more quickly.

Finally, we had a meeting that included the teacher and the principal. The principal told the teacher that she must tell that boy to stop being a bully. Confronting the teacher and the principal was hard. But it was even harder for me to see what my son was going through. Compared to that, going and talking to the principal was not very hard to do.

After the meeting with the principal, the problem was solved. No more problems at school!

Before this happened, I always believed whatever a teacher said. That was my mistake. I even decided to volunteer at that school, to see what was going on there. That’s how I realized that my son was being bullied and that the teacher’s story was wrong. I became a Learning Leader at my son’s school. I learned that it is good to listen to your child and believe your child. What they are telling you is the truth.

Daffeh Fatou is a student at the Adult Learning Center, at Lehman College, in the Bronx. She is from Gambia, in West Africa, and was born in a city called Banjul. Her family worked as farmers there. She has been living in the Bronx for the last 27 years.

Back to Issue 42