White Boys Bullied in Brooklyn? Go Figure
Ed Dept. eyes charge
kids bullied, 1 beaten
BY KATHLEEN LUCADAMO
Monday, October 10th, 2005
City education officials are investigating the claims of a pair of boys from Oklahoma who moved to Brooklyn to experience diversity, and instead say they got schooled in racism and violence.
Mom Lisa Brown, 33, told the Daily News she relocated her family from their small Oklahoma town so her husband, a Brooklyn native and social worker, could more easily find work and her sons could experience different people and ways of life.
Brown enrolled her sons, Sloan, 12, and J.T., 13, at Ebbets Field Middle School in Crown Heights. But when the boys, who are white, showed up, their mom said, they got a chilling indication of what was to come.
"Oh my gosh, we are going to have fun this year," a security guard muttered, according to Brown.
Things quickly got worse.
Sloan was beaten mercilessly, called "cracker" and "white boy," and chased into traffic by his new classmates, his family said.
The abuse got so bad that Sloan routinely bolted out of the building to find his brother and run to a nearby subway, dodging verbal and physical attacks, he said.
"It almost makes me cry," Sloan said. "I'm scared to go back."
The brothers skipped school all last week while their parents tried to sort out the mess.
"Do I have to send the National Guard in to get my children an education?" asked the distraught mom.
When Brown tried to alert Principal Marge Baker to the abuse, "the principal refused to take the calls," she charged.
Brown filed several police reports at the 71st Precinct stationhouse about the alleged abuse, but said she was ignored.
Police sources said precinct cops did take the incident seriously but believe school staff are in a better position to deal with what appeared to be a series of schoolyard fights and bullying.
The boys' stepfather, Ken Brown, requested a transfer for the boys on Sept. 28, but Education Department officials noted he can't seek the change because he is not a custodial parent.
Eventually, the fedup mom went to nearby Elijah Stroud Middle School to transfer her sons there, but said the principal told her: "They'll have the same problem here."
Education officials promised to help the Browns - after being contacted by The News.
"The principal was not sufficiently attentive to this situation," the Education Department said in a statement. "Upon learning of the situation, the region is taking immediate action to arrange a transfer for these children.
"We will fully investigate what happened, including whether racist statements, which are not tolerated, were made and take appropriate action."
Brown said the Education Department called her several times over the weekend, after The News made queries, pledging to get the kids into Elijah Stroud and chastising her for calling in the press.
Despite the principal's warning, Lisa agreed to send her boys to Elijah Stroud tomorrow.
"I'll make sure my kids are safe because it is the school system's job to make sure they are," she said.
For Sloan and J.T., escaping Ebbets Field Middle School will be a relief. The school opened in September as one of the city's many new small schools, with plans to "become the crown jewel" of Crown Heights, according to the Education Department Web site.
The Browns said their ethnically and racially diverse neighbors in Prospect Heights have embraced them, and they thought New York was "the greatest place on Earth" - until they started battling the school system.
"I was excited to expose my children to a complete variety of people," Lisa Brown said. "I thought it would be an advantage. I always told my children that children could be cruel - but not to this extent."
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Northwest American Republic. An idea whose time has come.