Parents irate with KCPS after son was attacked near East High School; they want son out of district
3:36 PM, Mar 6, 2012
10:42 AM, Mar 7, 2012
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - For months, all Melissa Coon has wanted was to pull her son from East High School.
She says the 13-year-old has endured months of racial harassment and bullying from fellow students and teachers, and an attack on their front porch was the last straw.
Coon has asked Kansas City Public Schools to allow them to transfer her eighth-grader out of the district.
"They really kind of brushed me off," Coon said.
"I had asked for transfers, they had told me no," Coon explained, "And this was several months ago."
Staying at East High was uncomfortable before. Now, it's unbearable.
"I will never, ever send any of my children to the Kansas City school district ever again," Coon said.
The boy told police that two teens followed him home from school on Feb. 28. He said the attack happened on his family's front porch, when the two teens lit gas on fire, burning the boy.
Kansas City, Missouri Police wouldn't speak on camera about the incident on Tuesday. Though, did tell 41 Action News, that after several interviews with the boy, they don't believe the incident needs to be investigated as a hate crime.
The boy's family disagrees.
After months of racial harassment sand bullying inside the walls of East High School, they believe the teens attacked him because of the color of his skin.
Now, he has burns on his face, and his eyebrows and eyelashes are growing back. Coon says the boy doesn't leave home without his sunglasses on, out of embarrassment.
Coon added, the boy is taking anti-depressants and seeing a therapist to manage flashbacks he has of the attack.
She said, "He can't smell anymore, he lost his sense of smell from the incident."
Coon's other two children go to a near-by charter school, that she said won't accept her son mid-semester. She and her fiancee are both students, so she says there isn't money to move or to pay for private school.
She told 41 Action News' Beth Vaughn her family is out of options.
Kansas City Public Schools told 41 Action News it wouldn't comment on the incident until the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department's investigation had concluded.
Chief Communications and Community Engagement Officer, Eileen Houston-Stewart wrote, "The district did offer to transfer the student to any school in the district, we offered a home-bound teacher to go to any location of the parent's choice where the student would get one-on-one instruction and we offered to provide counseling. We did not offer to pay for medical bills."
However, Coon says the district has refused to give her what she really wants, a free-pass out of KCPS.
She explained, "We're not asking for them to pay for buses. We're not asking them to pay for a special cab. We're asking them to hand us a piece of paper or transfer a piece of a paper to another school, so be it, be safe, be somewhere else."
For now, she's keeping her son safe at home. Though, admits she's been warned that law enforcement could get involved if too much time passes with him out of school.