Posted: January 25, 2004
3:37 pm Eastern
By Joe Kovacs
© 2009 WorldNetDaily.com
The Omaha suspension of a white high-school student originally from South Africa is sending shock waves across America as debate rages over who can claim rights to the term "African-American."
South African native Trevor Richards suspended over African-American campaign
The case centers on Trevor Richards, a junior at Westside High School, who moved from Johannesburg to Nebraska six years ago.
Richards and his classmates, 16-year-old twins Paul and Scott Rambo, were booted from classes last week after distributing posters touting Trevor as a candidate for Westside High's "Distinguished African-American Student" award on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
"The posters were intended to be satire on the term African-American," Scott Rambo told the Omaha World-Herald.
Principal John Crook says the posters were disruptive.
"It was offensive to the individual being honored, to people who work here and to some students," Crook told the paper. "My role is to make sure we have a safe environment, physically and psychologically. We can't allow that kind of thing to be hung up on our walls."
Records from 2002-2003 indicate only 56 of Westside's 1,632 students were black, and some in this year's student body were reportedly upset by Richards' poster.
Ironically, the first two recipients of the student award were white.
"It was not intended at the beginning to be one race only," Clidie Cook, who helps organize the annual event, told the World-Herald.
But Westside officials pushed to change that, feeling the spirit of the honor meant giving it to a black student, and by 2001, the ministerial alliance in charge specified it was for blacks only.