Petition for Wake Forest student suspended over racial incident tops 35,000

Micah Speed in a photo by AJ Janavel/CBS North Carolina

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WNCN) — A Wake Forest High School student suspended for throwing a classmate to the ground will return to class next week.

Micah Speed says the student he threw to the ground had harassed him about his race. On Monday, students rallied around Speed, and now there’s a petition with more than 35,000 signatures in support of the 15-year-old.

“It’s just an opportunity that we can’t really overlook to show these students to stand up for these values that we believe in of inclusion, and diversity and tolerance,” said Jennifer Rudolph, who created a petition to try and encourage the school to take a stand against bullying.

The video of the altercation went viral.

“It took a video to do it, but people are finally standing up,” said Yolanda Speed, Micah’s mother.

“It’s not just black people or Hispanic people,” said Speed. “It’s everyone saying okay, enough is enough.”

A petition that Speed says was started by one of her son’s friends has more than 35,000 signatures. It calls for the other student involved to be suspended.

“My son gets punished at a level three and the young man who actually created the issue gets a level two, just because my son grabbed him by the book bag,” said Speed. “I’m not saying that it was okay for him to touch him at all, but what I’m saying is how is that equal?”

Jennifer Rudolph has a daughter at Wake Forest High School. She decided to create a petition of her own.

“When you have a situation that results in suspensions and enhanced police presence, media coverage, and widespread peaceful student protests, I just thought this needed a stronger response than (a) call home and we’re taking care of this,” said Rudolph.

Rudolph says she wanted to encourage students and teachers to take a leadership role in tackling bullying.

“The Wake County School Board has resources at its disposal to offer schools, administration, teachers extra workshops, seminars, that could be provided to address a larger issue.”

Rudolph says she hopes the school will work together with the school board to make that happen and Yolanda Speed agrees and would like to see all teachers receive some kind of diversity training. Micah will go back to school Monday. Yolanda Speed says the school did tell her they were punishing the other student involved, but didn’t offer specifics. CBS North Carolina did reach out to the school to try to find out more but, but officials said they wouldn’t release that information or answer any questions related to this incident.

CBS North Carolina also reached out to the other student involved, but we haven’t heard back.

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