Officials with a Florida school district are investigating after a mother says her son is being racially harassed by middle and high school members of the Future Farmers of America club at his school. Cedric Wright, 13, is the only African-American officer with the “Future Farmers” group at Jenkins Middle School, News4Jax reported. The seventh-grader said he’s always had a knack for farming ever since his great-grandparents, who were also farmers, began teaching him as a younger child. What sparked my interest is animals and plants and everything that’s alive,” Wright told the station.
“I just love it.” His experience with the Future Farmers program, however, has been soured by what he and his mother say is racism. As the northeastern Florida group’s only Black student, Wright claims he’s been subjected to racist taunting and bullying by fellow members. “They act like it’s not my place to be there, and they’re the only ones who should be in the organization,” he said. The child’s mother, Julia Young, recalled the time her son was bullied by older students on the bus during a field trip. Young said the students used racial slurs and a nearby adult did nothing to stop it. When her son spoke up for himself, he was told to be quiet, she said. Young was completely fed up
after learning of an anonymous Snapchat message that read, “why is that n—-r on the FFA team?” Frustrated, she called on Putnam County School District leaders to take action and was assured by her son’s principal that officials would handle the matter accordingly. “It’s not the school as a whole it’s the individuals,” Young said. “People should be addressed, redirected and encouraged not to act on such hateful things.” On Wednesday, the Associate Superintendent of Support Services for the district addressed the situation in a statement saying officials were aware of the bullying. “The school principal met with the student and his mother later that afternoon in an effort to begin an investigation to determine the facts surrounding the incident,” it read.
“The matter currently remains under investigation with school and district administrators working jointly.” It continued, “We are committed to ensuring the physical and emotional well-being of our students in both academic and extracurricular settings. Bullying or harassment of any kind will not be tolerated.” Future Farmers’ made headlines last fall when its national chapter elected Breanna Holbert as its first African-American female president. Holbert became one of six African-Americans to
hold a national office, following in the footsteps of Fred McClure, the first Black national FFA officer elected in 1974. According to its website, The Future Farmers of America organization is devoted to making a positive impact in the lives of students by “developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.”