CPS student's experience with racism is seen by thousands on Twitter

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COLUMBIA—One student’s experience with racism at Rock Bridge High School has been seen by more than 300,000 people on Twitter.

The tweet displays an audio recording allegedly between Miles Cheatum and his teacher during school hours. In the video, there is a back-and-forth between Cheatum and the teacher about why she cannot use a racial slur.

“My music that I was listening to had some profanity words in it, had the N-Word in it,” Cheatum said. “And she felt that if they're using it in that song, she could use it toward me, and use it to communicate with me." 

The teacher uses the racial slur in the recording, saying “I’m not calling you a ******.”

Rock Bridge High School investigated the incident when it happened four years ago. The teacher still works at the school.

The recording resurfaced June 5 when actress Skai Jackson posted the recording on Twitter. Cheatum said he was unaware the incident was recorded or shared on Twitter until a friend showed him the tweet.

Cheatum met with Rock Bridge High School’s principal Jacob Sirna, who did not work for the school at the time of the incident.

Sirna also held a Zoom meeting Sunday with the community to discuss racial inequality at Rock Bridge High School. This meeting stemmed from a Facebook post with thousands of comments from Rock Bridge students sharing their experience with racism at the school.

“I am here today as the principal of Rock Bridge High School, acknowledging we have internal work that needs to be done,” Sirna said in the virtual meeting. “It is evident we have not achieved our goal that all of our students feel welcomed and valued.”

Michelle Baumstark, communications director for Columbia Public Schools, said they are re-looking into the initial investigation.