Cotton balls dumped on a Roseville lawn last November were meant by some to be a symbol of the work blacks should still be doing as slaves.
“I was horrified. I have six kids. We were at that time in 2014. We’re in California of all places. I was disgusted. I was in disbelief,” said Nyoki Sacramento.
Sacramento, admitting for the first time publicly that her son, her family was the target of an elaborate cotton fields taunt that included those responsible obtaining the code for their gated community in order to spread racial hate.
Her husband took pictures of what was left behind, but only after he’d cleaned up much of what he first thought was a strange prank.
Through text messages their son received it was revealed 13 of his Oakmont High classmates dumped the cotton there as a symbol of quote sending him back to the fields and that it was a “good day when you put [n-words] back in their place.”
Those students have been charged with a hate crime.
Sacramento’s speaking out now because two days ago “white power” and other racially-charged words were found written on school walls.
Friday a black student was thrown out of a racial equality forum; conflicting reasons have emerged as to why.
“Here it’s reared it’s ugly head up again. Now i’m finally speaking out because someone has to take a stand and say this is wrong. They need to respond appropriately. Someone has to protect the kids up at that school,” she said.
Nyoki Sacramento believes if her son’s situation had been properly addressed, tensions might have dissipated.
“The school didn’t have his back. He felt very much alone. The vice principals who interviewed my son concerning the incident, some of the questions they asked him were ‘we don’t understand why you would be offended by the n-word,’ ‘isn’t it in your music,'” she recounted.
A lawyer by trade, Sacramento says she pointed out to school and district leaders state education code that allows a school to take action on a bullying case that’s connected to campus but happens away from it.
“No one was ever punished from the district or the school,” she said.
Though he didn’t want to speak directly to Sacramento’s claims on camera Friday, the spokesman for the Roseville Joint Union High School District did comment about the latest instances of racial discord.
“We don’t want this in our community,” said Brad Basham, the district’s Executive Director of Personnel Services.
“It’s not a reflection of the quality of students at Oakmont High School.”
Over the phone Basham told FOX40 there have been student, staff, parent and community meetings to discuss the raced-based incidents and racial tolerance, as well as campus videos produced on those topics.
He also said since those responsible for scrawling hate speech here this week haven’t been identified, it’s a stretch to connect it to what happened to the Sacramento family.
“It’s not a stretch. It all has to do with racist attitudes and racist beliefs,” said Sacramento.
Her children have moved to other schools in the Roseville district that are still predominantly white, but she describes the racial climate there as much better.
After suffering bouts of depression, Sacramento says the son who was targeted is less fearful these days and once again able to focus on formerly high grades.
The Roseville Joint Unified High School District has made celebrating cultural diversity a ongoing goal district-wide.