CHANDLER, AZ — A Hamilton High School Senior and her mother demanding answers. This coming after a classmate called the student council member a racial slur. But when she reported it to the teacher, things only got worse.
“I didn’t want anyone to see that I was upset especially because I came there to raise money for something important,” said Ki'mya Smith.
Ki’mya is an honor student, participates on student council and is even part of a group of students who speak to teachers about diversity.
But on Thursday, while raising money for a local hospital as part of her council duties, she was faced with a horrible situation.
“One of the students screamed the derogatory word for African Americans,” said Ki'mya.
She says they yelled it twice. Offended and hurt, she went straight to the teacher in the classroom.
“We went to him and said me and a few of my student council members heard one of your students say the n-word," said Ki'mya. "He (the teacher) denies it at first and then he asked me what word did they say and I said the n-word with a hard r.”
She says she didn’t want to say the word in it’s entirety, that’s when the teacher said it back to her instead.
“It’s just like time stood still for a little bit, it was like a shock,” said Ki'mya after hearing it come out of his mouth.
Insulted that he would actually use the word and encouraged by fellow council members, Ki’mya went to the principal to not only report the students but the teacher as well.
She gave a statement but didn’t hear anything else.
Her mother Kim Smith spoke to the school too, first feeling like she was getting the run around.
Then finally speaking to the principal.
“He tried to ease my concerns, saying he was brought in to change things and work on diversity,” said Kim Smith.
But she says the conversation didn’t go far enough and the principal offered no explanation as to what the punishment would be.
The district issuing us this statement.
"Racially offensive words are not tolerated. A student reported to her teacher that she heard another student use racially inappropriate language. When the teacher understood the student’s report, he began an investigation which included talking to students. The district is still gathering all the relevant facts and will address the concern appropriately.”
Smith says the statement is incomplete and leaves out critical facts that need to be addressed.
"They had no mention of the teachers part in this at all,” said Smith.
Both Ki'mya and her mother believe more boundaries need to be set by the school so this doesn't happen again.
Until then, Ki'mya says she's not letting this get swept under the rug.
“I’m gonna keep doing as much as I can to make sure that everyone knows that this is unacceptable,” said Ki'mya.