The black School of the Arts junior who was the target of a white senior’s tweet containing the “n word” said Monday she hates going to school and has thought about “giving up” since the incident.
Sixteen-year-old Imani Herring spoke to the Charleston County School Board for about two minutes during the public comment portion of its meeting. She said she was a victim of both cyberbullying and the media, which have portrayed her negatively and only reported one side of the story.
Herring was mentioned by name in a tweet senior Ashley Patrick made from home in February. Patrick wrote: “If Imani makes one more got damn remark in Roger’s class tomorrow … (expletive) will drop.” Patrick posted a link to a picture of a young white girl squeezing her eyes shut and crossing her fingers. The text on the photo read “I wish a nigga would.”
Patrick made headlines last week because the district administration wanted to kick her out of the school, send her to an alternative program, and ban her from graduation and prom.
A quorum of the school board told Patrick last week that she could stay at School of the Arts but couldn’t attend the prom or graduation. That changed over the weekend, and Patrick went to the prom and will be able to walk at graduation. She was suspended for five days, will have to do 20 hours of community service, and must write a 500-word essay on race and social media.
Patrick and her attorney argued the district administration wanted a harsher penalty for Patrick because of Herring’s mother, Lisa Herring, one of the highest-ranking officials in the district. She oversees the district’s behavior and discipline programs.
Imani Herring told the board that Patrick’s tweet was a response to something she said in class with the teacher’s permission, but Patrick didn’t like it. Imani Herring said the tweet hurt, insulted and threatened her, and that adults had forgotten about her.
She said she’s launching a campaign on cyberbullying and raising awareness about its negative effects.