Posted on November 21, 2011

Was a 5th Grader Kicked Out of His Elementary School for Saying a Local Newscaster Resembles Barack Obama?

Dave Urbanski, The Blaze, November 18, 2011

The guy dressed in the suit and tie, smiling and shaking a bevy of hands, caught Grayson Thomas’ eye.

Grayson wasn’t alone. Teachers and other students at Stevenson Ranch Elementary School couldn’t take their eyes off the lunchtime visitor, either.

Grayson, a fifth-grader at the campus near Santa Clarita, Ca., noticed the gentleman’s outward characteristics: Tall and lean. Good looking. Charismatic. Charming. Energetic.

Then he made a fatal error: Grayson, 11, pulled a little “made you look” joke on a schoolmate seated next to him, saying something along the lines of “Obama’s visiting our school today,” referring to the magnetic figure holding court nearby.

It wasn’t Obama, of course. But from Grayson’s point of view, Chris Schauble–morning co-anchor of KTLA 5′s TV news program in Los Angeles–did possess a demeanor and countenance similar to the president’s.

According to Grayson’s dad, Darren Thomas (who provided the previous details), what happened next was scary: Word of his son’s Obama-Schauble comparison spread to Schauble’s daughter, Shelbi, who was sharing lunch with her newsman father. And Shelbi was uncomfortable with Grayson’s statement, saying it felt racist.

Then a teacher was summoned, then the principal, Candace Fleece, then the Newhall School District superintendent, Marc Winger. And that very afternoon, Nov. 4, Grayson was kicked out of Stevenson Ranch for good, his father says, for implying that all black men look alike.

The Blaze asked school officials and Schauble for comment to little avail. Schauble did not respond to interview requests. School board president Suzan T. Solomon noted “regret” over “misinformation out in the press” regarding the ordeal but declined further comment. Fleece’s office referred the matter to Winger, who offered that “there are two sides to every story” but declined further comment, citing student confidentiality issues. {snip}


Winger apparently revealed a bit more to a local radio news site, which quoted him as saying, “It’s not what [Grayson] said, it’s how he said it…I can tell you that there was history and that the student had been counseled and we met with the parents.”

It’s besides the point, says Darren Thomas, that neither Winger, Fleece, nor Solomon–not even Schauble or his daughter–were within earshot to evaluate “how” his son originally stated his Obama-lookalike comment. The kicker, Darren says, is that school officials had no basis for determining that Grayson’s comparison implied that all black men look alike. {snip}

“How can you assume the intent of a child?” Darren asked. “This is the thought police. [They’re] not God; [their] bureaucratic brain[s have] melted into a mush of political correctness.”

Darren first spoke to Principal Fleece, whom he says assured him that Grayson’s past misbehavior–which included stealing school supplies from a campus store with other students and minor classroom outbursts–had nothing to do with the decision to permanently kick him out of the school.

Rather, Darren recalls Fleece explaining, Grayson made the Obama-Schauble comparison in a “teasing” and “mocking” way…and the school deals with racism very seriously. (Darren adds that Fleece contacted Schauble and apologized for Grayson’s remark.)


According to Darren, he asked the California Department of Education to open an investigation on possible civil rights violations in regard to Grayson’s situation, and he may pursue legal action as well. {snip}


“[They]’ve empowered a young girl, and all kids connected with this girl,” Darren says, “[to believe] that ‘If I don’t like you, all I have to do is say racism and you’re done.'” (He said the student who told Schauble’s daughter about Grayson’s comment does not like Grayson and, in fact, sent him harassing text messages the following Monday, Nov. 7, celebrating his dismissal. Darren says he’s turning over the texts to law enforcement and school authorities.)