Students caught handing out 'N-word passes' at Potomac school

Posted at 9:01 AM, Feb 13, 2019

POTOMAC, Md. (WJLA) — It's ranked one of the best schools in the country, and it's right here in Maryland, but now Winston Churchill High School is dealing with a racist incident.

Students were caught handing out passes supposedly giving them permission to use the N-word. Kevin Lewis from our sister station WJLA, talked to one of the teens involved and the mothers of two involved students who say the school is overreacting to what they claim was supposed to be a joke.

"It's a joke that maybe went a tiny bit too far, at the most. But the school blew it out of proportion," said Winston Churchill sophomore Gavin Norman.

On Friday, two of his close friends printed around 15 copies of a meme from the internet, and handed them out to students during lunch. The meme, modeled after a Willy Wonka golden ticket, says "N-word pass." The idea being passholders could use the racist term without repercussions.

"It should have been one day suspension at the most, just protocol for schools, but it ended up being a lot more than that,” said Norman.

Administrators have now disciplined at least three students. In an email to parents, Churchill's principal said she was "deeply disappointed and appalled" by what she considered to be "a racist, hateful act."

“No one was trying to offend anyone, no one was saying the actual word, and no one thought it was okay to say the actual word,” explained Norman.

“It’s childish," and sophomore Philippe Tchokokam. He gave the incident a 7.5 on the offensive scale.

“It’s something I’ve been thinking about lately, and it’s just been stuck in my mind. It’s disappointing,” Tchokokam said.

The high school has a PTSA meeting February 19, and it will now solely focus will on race and tolerance.