Instead of bonding with classmates or enjoying school, Dalaya Hooper endured months of racist bullying due to her skin tone.
In Clayton, North Carolina, students tormented the 11-year-old because her skin was “too dark” until she asked to transfer schools to escape. The Daily Mail reports Dawnetta Hooper went viral for confronting Riverwood Middle School online about the racist abuse.
“Everyone keeps making fun of my skin color or the way I look. And then people keep making jokes about me, saying that I’m from Africa because I’m super Black,” Dalaya wrote in a text message to her mother.
“They say that I stayed in the oven for to[o] long because I’m basically the color of burnt and they won’t stop,” the girl continued.
If complicit schools don’t protect Black children, parents like Dalaya’s mother will. Dawnetta took to social media to social media after her daughter texted her begging to “please switch schools.” She took to Facebook to share her frustration in addition to her daughter’s pain.
“I was at work today when I received this text message from my 11 year old child. My heart sank! I immediately told my coworkers I had to go. Months ago, I brought this to the administrators attention and they said ‘we will handle it’. Well you didn’t! So I had to go by the school IN PERSON!
“One thing that won’t happen is my child growing up hating any part of her. She is a beautiful, smart, and vibrant little girl. I won’t allow anyone to dim her light,” she wrote.
In a post with over 10,000 views and shares, she detailed months of complaints that Riverwood Middle School seemed to ignore.
“I had a talk with a counselor because the administrators couldn’t take time out of their day to speak to me. I sat in that office and overheard the secretary speaking to one of them and they asked if I had an appointment. So they sent me to counselor,” the mother of three explained.
“I don’t care who I speak to, let this be their notice. You handle it, before I handle it. The first time it happened I told my child to tell the teacher. They did nothing. Second time, I called and spoke to an administrator. She told me she would have my child speak to a counselor. (What about the bully?). Now, I had to show up in person,” Dawnetta wrote.
Johnston County Public Schools responded to bullying complaints
The school district says it is “actively looking into the situation.” Despite Dawnetta’s account, the district’s statement also claimed: “allegations like these are taken seriously and handled according to Board policy.”
Dalaya received overwhelming support online and from local officials. Pittsboro leaders invited Dalaya to light the town tree at the Holly Days event on Sunday afternoon.
Hopefully, Dawnetta’s words of encouragement ring louder than any hate from bullies:
“Black is beautiful! It is the melanin in our skin that others strive to obtain, but can’t. Does my blackness upset you? Does it offend you? That’s a YOU problem. But my 11 year old doesn’t understand the value she possesses yet. She doesn’t realize that she is what many desire to be,” she wrote.