A 9-year-old boy from a Phoenix elementary school has been suspended after the school determined he engaged in racial harassment by using the term "brown people."Principal Voinovich also has strong opinions on whether or not this is a free country:
The boy, whom The Arizona Republic is not naming because of his age, was suspended for three days from Abraham Lincoln Traditional School after officials determined that his language constituted racial harassment, part of its hate-crime code.
In a parent-teacher conference in early November, Abraham Lincoln Principal Virginia Voinovich said she also told the boy that it is OK to have racist feelings as long as you keep them to yourself.
"As we said to (the boy) when he was in here, in your heart you may have that feeling, and that is OK if that is your personal belief," Voinovich said in the conference, which was tape-recorded by the boy's mother. [emph. added]
Neve said school officials didn't advise her of the incident until several days after they questioned her son. When Neve objected to the suspension during the parent conference, Voinovich told her that parents give up their rights to discipline when they send a child to school, the tape shows.
"If you don't want that, you can take him out of here," Voinovich said. "There is nowhere you can go to challenge this." [emph. added]