GLENDORA, Calif. — They’ve lived in Glendora for almost a decade. Now Eric Moore, a father willing to do anything to protect his family, feels he has no choice but to move.
He’s pulling his six kids out of Glendora Unified School District and sending them to stay with family, after a Sandburg Middle School classmate of his 14-year-old daughter, Ale, privately messaged her a disturbing photo on Instagram.
Ale called her classmate in the photo a bully who she claims has made several racist remarks toward her and other students in the past.
But the photo, which shows the Sandburg student wearing a military vest, holding what looks like an assault rifle and the caption that reads “boutta to hunt for porch monkeys,” was a step too far, the Moore family said.
“As an African American, [porch monkey] means to me you’re going to hunt for Black people,” Moore said.
Scared for his children’s safety, Moore said he immediately reported the threat to school officials, who identified the minor as a student, but haven’t taken disciplinary action.
The school district released a statement: “Superintendent DeLeon has activated a response team to stand strongly against discrimination in all forms, including racism. Aspects of this work will include convening small-group forums with students’ families to listen and gain greater insight about each one’s experience in our schools to inform our work as we improve our educational system for every child.”
Meanwhile, the student who threatened Ale remains in school.
Glendora police found out the weapon in the photo was actually an air-soft gun. Police said the minor was criminally charged by the LA County District Attorney’s office and the case is being investigated as a hate crime.
In Southern California, hate crimes are up, according to California State University, San Bernardino.
The city of Los Angeles saw an increase of hate crimes to 71% in 2020, and cases against Black people jumped 91%. A report from the FBI found 61% of hate crimes nationwide are racially motivated.
Ale no longer feels safe at school in Glendora, and her father has taken the situation back to where it all started: social media, to plea his daughter’s case.
He’s demanding the school district kick out the alleged bully for breaking multiple behavior codes in the student handbook.
GUSD’s student handbook states threatening to cause physical injury to another person, possessing or furnishing an imitation firearm and bullying are all grounds for suspension or expulsion.
“Everything about this from the bottom to the top is unfair,” Moore said, and this has left him to have the uncomfortable conversation with his family about racism.
“[My kids] understand white and Black and people not liking each other,” he said. “They just don’t understand where racism comes from?”
The GUSD student in the photo and all students involved in circulating the photo on social are minors, which is why the DA’s office and the school district would not release their names or comment on the case.
Typically, cases involving juveniles are kept highly confidential.