By: Suzie Glassman/NewsBreak Denver
(Castle Rock, CO) When Melissa Sutherland read about the racism and hate speech directed at Castle Rock Middle School student Jeramiah Ganzy, she knew she had to do something beyond expressing her outrage on social media.
That’s when Sutherland, who says she learned to stand up to injustice from her mother, and her high-school-aged son decided to organize a peaceful protest where parents, students, teachers, and community members could express support for the Ganzy family, share their stories, and call for the district to do more.
She believes that while the district has made statements against bullying and harassment since Jeramiah spoke at a board meeting last month, it hasn’t taken accountability for its failure to take swift action and investigate the students at fault.
Sutherland said, “Jeramiah did everything he was supposed to do by reporting racism in the school, and the school failed him.
“I want to help make sure that what happened to Jeramiah never happens again to any student in the district. He needs to know that there is a whole community out here who supports him and will fight to force the school district to address this problem.”
According to Lacey Ganzy, Jeramiah’s mom, no one from the district has apologized directly to her for the racism her son experienced.
The peaceful protest is scheduled from 4 to 5 p.m., Tuesday, May 23, in front of the district’s headquarters at 620 Wilcox Street in Castle Rock.
The timing is intentional, as the DougCo school board is expected to vote on suggested revisions to the district’s equity policy that evening.
Many argue the suggested changes by the four majority directors dilute the original policy’s intent to create a safe culture for all students regardless of race, color, ancestry, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, religion, national origin, marital status, disability, socio-economic status, or eligibility for special education services.
There is also a GoFundMe to support the family's efforts to move out of the district. Those wanting to donate can go here.