A 15-year-old Mississippi high school teen was suspended after a picture of him displaying three raised fingers surfaced.
On Feb. 3, assistant principal Todd Nichols summoned Dontadrian Bruce of Olive Branch High to his office. Nichols showed Bruce a photo he had posed for during a recent biology project, and suspended him for holding up gang signs in the picture.
Three days later, a disciplinary committee confirmed Dontadrian’s punishment: “Indefinite suspension with a recommendation of expulsion.”
Wait, what? The above photo was taken by the boy’s mother, Janet Hightower. It recreates the “incriminating” image: “He’s a good child,” she insists. “I know what he does 24 hours a day.”
Dontadrian also says he had no clue that this gesture was affiliated with the Vice Lords, a Chicago-based street gang with active Deep South chapters. He claims he was holding up three fingers to represent the number on his football jersey, like the other players did during practice.
Dontadrian’s convinced that school officials assumed he was in a gang because he is black. His stepfather adds, “I was born and raised here, graduated from Olive Branch and I’m telling you: they would have done nothing [if he was white].”
Earlier this year two black basketball players in Wisconsin were suspended for throwing up what “looked like” gang signs in a photo. There punishment was overturned following backlash from the media.
Thoughts on the incident?
If Bruce wasn’t black, do you think administrators would have assumed he was throwing up gang signs?
Sound off below!