An excited 12-year-old Brandon Pearson, who has Down Syndrome, began his first day at Huntington K-8 School in the Eastwood neighborhood of Syracuse, New York on Tuesday.
He arrived at school accompanied by his mother, Brandiss Pearson, her husband and her father. The family stopped near the entrance to take photos of a mural in the hall.
As they snapped photos, a white school security guard approached them.
“Wait, wait, wait, hold on,” Brandiss Pearson says the guard shouted as he rushed up to them, grabbing Brandon and turning him to face the wall. The security guard then placed Brandon’s hands against the wall as if he was about to frisk him for weapons.
“And he starts laughing and says, ‘Now take the picture, he’s in the right position,'” Brandiss said.
Fortunately, having Down Syndrome, Brandon was oblivious to the insult he had just suffered at the hands of this security guard who insists that he was “just joking” with the boy. Brandon continued to smile as Down Syndrome children do all the time.
Brandiss, her husband and father were not so ready to forgive and forget however.
“I was shaking, just like fire-breathing mad,” she said. ”All he saw was a little black boy who needed to assume the position.”
Pearson is a registered nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital Heath Center and is working on her master’s degree at Upstate University. She is also on the board of directors for Home HeadQuarters a non-profit dedicated to revitalizing neighborhoods and helping disadvantaged people to improve their lives and own homes.
“Nothing that I’ve accomplished can change what some people see,” Brandiss said.
Although Brandon’s father did snap a photo of the incident, he said that he has since deleted it because it enraged him to relive the incident.
On Tuesday afternoon, Pearson complained to the school’s principal. On Wednesday morning, she confronted the security guard in the hallway of the school. She said that when she confronted him, he laughed and told her that he thought it was “a funny joke.”
Michael Henesey, coordinator of communications for the school district read a prepared statement on Wednesday:
“We are in receipt of the complaint filed against one of our school sentries. The school district has begun an internal investigation into the alleged complaint. The school sentry in question has been placed on administrative leave while the district conducts the investigation. We will not be releasing any more information at this time.”
The one good thing in all of this is the fact that Brandon will suffer no emotional scarring from the incident, children with Down Syndrome are very loving of everyone they come in contact with and see the good in everyone.