Mother finds racist drawing in son's backpack; School takes action to address it

The notebook paper drawing that was discovered by the student's mother. | Photo of drawing taken by Brandy Mullins

WHITLEY COUNTY - A Whitley County mother went to Facebook after finding a racist drawing in the belongings of her son, a student in the Whitley County School District, and she says the school system worked quickly to rectify the situation.

In her post made on Thursday, Brandy Mullins said she was outraged with anger at finding a piece of notebook paper which depicted two stick figures hanged from a tree. Also drawn in pencil are three hooded figures in cloaks with crosses on their chest and a burning cross in the background.

Mullins said that she hopes that the child who was responsible for drawing and placing the drawing in her son’s belongings knows that her son’s skin color doesn’t define him.

In her post, Mullins describes her middle school son, JaVon, 13, as loving, kind, smart, and the “sweetest gentle giant you’ll ever come in contact with.”

“He’s a helper, he’s loved by so many,” wrote Mullins. “He doesn’t let others ignorance define him. He has big dreams and big goals that we will see that he accomplishes.”

Mullins also suggested that there should be more advocacy in the Whitley County school system “because someone isn’t doing their job as a parent.”

Mullins’ post has garnered the attention of many. On Monday morning, the Times-Tribune received an email from the Kentucky chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-KY) condemning the placement of the threatening racist drawing in the middle schooler’s belongings.

“We condemn this apparent attempt to intimidate a young student with racist hate and threats of violence,” said CAIR-Kentucky Chair Salah Shakir. “Every student has the right to a safe and welcoming educational environment free of bigotry.”

When The Times-Tribune reached out to Mullins about the situation, she said the school district had worked very quickly to rectify the situation. On Monday evening, it was reported that the student responsible for the drawing had been identified.

Mullins said the situation had been handled within the school with the assistance of the school resource officer.

The Times-Tribune emailed Superintendent John Siler for comment on the situation, but had not received a reply by press time. Siler did provide comment to WKYT, however, saying:

“Harassment or bullying of any sort is not acceptable and we will continue to look into this until we know what happened. Appropriate action will be taken and we will continue to keep the well-being of students as our primary objective.”

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