The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office has joined an investigation into a Sugarloaf School student being the target of racist comments and actions by other students.
Jwanna Powell, the concerned mother of a 13-year-old girl at Lower Keys school, contacted school district representatives on Friday, May 7, and according to school officials, an investigation began immediately.
Powell told flkeys.com that her daughter, an eighth-grader at the K-8 school, entered the cafeteria and heard a boy say: “Look at that (n-word),” and that another student drew a racist cartoon on a chalkboard.
Powell also contacted school district representatives about the matter, and an investigation began immediately.
Monroe County School District Superintendent Theresa Axford said the district is taking the claims seriously.
“We are completing a thorough investigation and will follow school board policy to the letter,” Axford said. “In addition we will offer small group counseling and sensitivity training to prevent problems in the future. We will monitor the situation going forward to be sure our actions have been productive.”
Amber Acevedo, Monroe County School District coordinator of Professional Development and Community Relations, told The Citizen on Monday evening the investigation is ongoing but could not provide further details.
“Law enforcement became involved when the situation took place and was reported to administration,” Acevedo said. “The SRO (School Resource Officer) in law enforcement immediately became a part of the investigation.
“So, since there is a law enforcement investigation, we can’t really comment on the case. The school is working in conjunction with law enforcement. The investigation began Friday afternoon and there was follow-up (Monday).”
She said social workers and counselors also came to Sugarloaf School on Monday to provide aid to any students who desired it.
“We did have social workers and counselors at the school available for any kind of counseling needs out of the incident so they could work with any student identified,” said Acevedo. “That’s the status of where we are right now.”
Powell told flkeys.com that she learned of her daughter’s concerns in a text message, and noted that her daughter began attending classes remotely Monday. The district spokesperson could not confirm that, but did note that remote studies are an option at Sugarloaf School. The last day of classes at the school is May 28.
No disciplinary actions were taken as of Monday, Acevedo said.