Imagine sitting down to lunch in middle school, which is already a hard enough time in a kid’s life, and being in a sea of “Build a wall” chants brought on by those around you. For a white kid, that may not have shaken their core - but it was hell for 12-year-old Josie Ramon in November soon after Trump took office because that scenario was her reality. To make things worse, she was the one who had to leave school, not the outright racist peers.
As soon as the chants started, Josie was quick to hit record and sent the video to her mother. Her mother then sent it to another parent, who posted it and after the video went viral, Josie became the victim of constant bullying and harassment. The Royal Oak Middle School student told CNN, “the kids, they seemed to be so happy and excited that they were saying this, and it was hurtful. It was so hard to look and just watch and not being able to do anything because I was afraid...I was so scared”
Josie was eventually bullied out of school and now attends a private school elsewhere, but she didn’t leave Royal Oak without doing some good. The video she recorded wound up inspiring a group of parents to form the group “Together for One Royal Oak” to bring diversity into the school and community. With the good though, comes the horrendous because while most would see Josie as the victim in all of this, some parents whose children were chanting the racist remark felt their kids’ safety was on the line since they were featured in the viral video.
Instead of taking a moment to teach their kids not to blurt out racist comments and to be better members of society, these parents went a whole different direction - and we can probably guess who those parents voted for last November. In the end Josie was just a student who knew what her peers were doing was unjust, recorded a video and then became the victim of bullying. Really though, why didn’t Royal Oak step in to stop the harassment, and actually punish the chanters? There were many at fault in this story, but Josie was not one of them.