Shawnee Mission East student charged with felony after racist attack on Black student

Dozens of Shawnee Mission East High School students walked out of class in protest of the handling of an altercation where a white student shouted racial slurs and fought a Black classmate.

A white, male Shawnee Mission East High School student has been charged with felony aggravated battery after hurling a racist slur while beating a Black, female student in a school hallway.

The 15-year-old male was charged in Johnson County District Court as a juvenile for causing bodily harm in the attack against a Black sophomore, which was caught on video, sparking protests and rattling the community. The hearing has been set for Dec. 6.

Court records show the teen was also charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor in a separate case from June, including aggravated battery, aggravated assault and battery.

The Star is not naming the students because they are both minors.

Roughly 100 Shawnee Mission East students walked out of class on Monday to protest the district’s handling of the fight, which students say left the Black girl in the hospital with a broken nose. In an interview with The Star this week, the 15-year-old girl’s parents said she received a five-day suspension for the fight.

It is still unclear what punishment the white, male student, who pushed the girl while yelling the N-word and starting the fight, received. A few students told The Star he also was suspended. The district has declined to provide details on any punishment, citing student privacy issues.

Outrage has continued to grow as students and parents call the attack a hate crime and plead with school leaders to take stronger action.

“That young lady was the victim of a hate crime, and it should be treated as such,” said Anisha Jackson, a parent of a now-graduated Shawnee Mission student, who has been active pushing for change in the district. “She was protecting herself essentially, from videos I saw, as she was being assaulted. I’m not sure why she got suspended.”

A video shared with The Star from Nov. 15 shows a Black, female student walking away from what seemed to be an exchange of words with another student. She’s heard saying, “Don’t say nothing unless you’re gonna come say it to my face.”

Then a white, male student — who a couple of students told The Star was not involved with the previous argument — interjects telling her to, “Shut the **** up.” The female student turns around and starts walking in his direction. He charges toward her, shouting the N-word. He then pushes her. They both start swinging until the fight is broken up.

Several high schoolers argued it was only the latest in a series of racist incidents they feel have happened without school leaders taking appropriate action. They are calling on school leaders to issue more serious discipline for discrimination and hate speech, plus make cultural changes so that students of color feel safe at school.