A 10-year-old boy was recently charged with aggravated assault for hitting a classmate in the face with a dodgeball. Is it because he’s black?
Cameishi Lindley, a mother of a 10-year-old, soon-to-be fifth grader Bryce, received a surprising phone call from juvenile court telling her that her son was going to be charged with aggravated assault a few months following a game of dodgeball at elementary school. Bryce reportedly hit another child in the face. “I couldn’t believe it,” Lindley, after receiving a call from Wayne County Juvenile Court in Canton, Michigan.
Bryce received a one-day suspension from Ruth Eriksson Elementary, in Canton, on April 29th for allegedly “hitting a classmate in the face with a ball during a game of dodgeball.” The child who was hit sustained a concussion. However, the incident was an accident, Lindley contended, and the family did not expect it to go any further than that.
The mother of the child injured, who wishes to remain anonymous, said her son has a medical condition that makes him susceptible to head injuries, and added that the boy “sustained facial tissue damage to his face. He had a black eye and a bruised nose.” She claimed Bryce intentionally hit her son despite his knowledge of this. The mother also said she reported a prior incident to the school that same month. “My son was hit twice in the face with a ball previously due to this. The child apologized to my son and my son said, ‘Mom, it’s okay, we’re still going to be friends.’”
Wayne County’s assistant prosecuting attorney Maria Miller said her office investigated the matter and reported it “was evaluated by our Juvenile Prosecuting Unit, and it was determined that there was enough evidence to for us to charge aggravated assault.” Some are suggesting, however, that Bryce is being targeted because he is black. A 2018 report by the watchdog Government Accountability Group found “black students in grades K-12 are far more likely to be disciplined at school than kids of other races.” Other reports conducted in recent years have arrived at the same conclusion.
Lindley has created a fundraiser to assist her with Bryce’s legal fees, writing on Facebook, “I’m just as shocked as those of you reading our story. Nonetheless, I am asking for your assistance in securing a Lawyer for Bryce. He is scheduled to appear next week in court on 8/1. The Attorney fees are $4,000. Thank each of you for your help and prayers.”
She said she believes a child susceptible to head injuries should not be playing dodgeball to begin with given his medical condition. However, she is sympathetic towards the situation. Lindley said, “This is a kid who was playing on a playground with his friends…I’m sorry that her child got hurt. I’d be sorry for any child that got hurt.”
The case has fueled controversy on social media. Film producer Tariq Nasheed tweeted, “Some 10-year-olds were playing dodgeball on the playground at school. A white kid got hit with the ball. Then they charged the 10-year-old black child with assault. This is why we should not prioritize any of these border issues, while our kids are racially targeted.”