Nicole Cober Page, the mother of Jordan Shumate, a ninth-grade student at George C. Marshall High School in Falls Church, Virginia, lists up to four occasions when her son was “singled out because of his race to educate the class about black issues.”
According to his mother, this included most recently being asked to read aloud the Langston Hughes poem “Ballad of the Landlord” in a “blacker” voice. Page says that when her son did not comply, the teacher read the poem herself in what classmates described as a “slave-like” manner.
Page says that Jordan was also once asked to rap the lyrics of a Tupac Shakur hip-hop song and on another occasion he was asked to explain why black people like grape soda.
In spite of these instances, “Jordan is proud to go to Marshall. It’s a wonderful school, but even in the best places some bad things happen,” Page explains.
Jon Torre, a Fairfax public school spokesperson, provided CNN with a statement saying that “Marshall High School administrators are taking these allegations seriously and school officials are vigorously pursuing an investigation of these incidents. The school launched the investigation on Wednesday immediately after the student’s mother made them aware of her concerns.”