Brevard HS Student Says Racial Tension Is Just Part of Problem

BREVARD, N.C. -- Racially charged accusations of bullying have some at Brevard High School on edge.

"We had some things said that were inappropriate and we take those seriously," Transylvania County Schools Superintendent Jeff McDaris said.

The campus had heightened security Wednesday. Now, a student says he may leave the school because of the climate there.

While Matthew Sharpsteen claims there's a racial divide, he also says the root of concern is complicated.

"The racial separation at Brevard High has has been around for awhile," the sophomore says.

Sharpsteen says some of his friends were absent Thursday, and he thinks the unsettling environment is the reason.

"The school administration is doing all they can, however my friends and I are slightly concerned about our safety just with recent events," Sharpsteen said.

But according to Sharpsteen, this is not just a black and white issue. He believes the boy with special needs who is making the allegations might need more support.

"I believe he is part of the problem, although there is that racial tension between white and African-American students a lot of that aggression is coming from his side," Sharpsteen contended.

On Wednesday, Marlon Cruell said his son got into it with some other boys over a girl, and that it escalated.

"Racism is taught, and it's getting carried on to school," Cruell said. "You got parents who don't want, that avoid the situation that don't want to talk to these kids about it, so they bring it to school."

Now, school officials say they're trying to get to the bottom of what happened.

"It is possible that it could involve law enforcement depending on the severity of the statements that were made," McDaris said.

McDaris doesn't believe race divides Brevard High School.

"I hope that's not true," McDaris said. "I don't think it's true, I think we have a good relationship with all our students."

He agrees that some special needs students may need extra help.

"At the end of the day we want this student to go forth and be able to interact with people in an appropriate manner," McDaris said.

Sharpsteen says the situation at Brevard has him thinking about home-schooling.

A hard decision sparked by what he says is a complicated problem.

"But it is multi-layered," he says. "It's gonna take a lot of time and healing."

Sharpsteen says after recent events, he thinks the special needs student making the bullying claims should be moved to the alternative school where he can get more assistance.

Related Links:

School Administrators Respond to Reports of Race-Related Bullying

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