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14-year-old says he no longer feels safe after alleged racism at Castle Rock Middle School

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. — A 14-year-old boy told Denver7 he’s experienced so much racism at Castle Rock Middle School that he no longer feels safe there. Now, his parents plan to file a lawsuit, claiming the Douglas County School District downplayed the other students’ behavior as bullying instead of a hate crime.

Jeramiah Ganzy, 14, says the racism from other students at Castle Rock Middle school was so egregious, he is finishing the rest of the school year online.

“Mainly this year is when it got the worst on the bus and in school. They’d be calling me, like, a monkey, the N-word. At the end of Black History Month, they were telling me it wasn’t my month anymore,” the teen said.

Jeramiah says teachers not only turned a blind eye to the harassment, he also felt discriminated against by a staff member who accused him of stealing a water bottle.

“She proceeded to ask me where I got the money for it,” he said.

Things escalated when the teen made administrators aware of a large Snapchat group of about 100 students.

“They were sending the N-word. They were sending things against people of the Jewish religion. They were sending things against the LGBTQ community,” Jeramiah said.

Castle Rock Middle School alleged racism


That’s when the harassment became more serious, according to Jeramiah’s mother.

“There was a group of them calling for a lynching because my son had snitched and ruined their college future. And at that point, [Jeramiah] was immediately removed from the school,” Lacey Ganzy said.

Back in March, Jeramiah sent an email to the district about the racism and how “unwanted” he felt at school. In an email, Castle Rock Middle School Principal John Veit responded only to a colleague saying, “It is unfortunate to hear. We are working on this, but I have a feeling it will be a long project for us. He did write very well in this.”

Castle Rock Middle School alleged racism


That’s not enough for the Ganzys.

Lacey believes the district needs to implement its equity policy, and says students who are victims of hate speech should receive an advocate. She says none of her children will attend DCSD schools next year.

“We’re not going to keep classifying things as bullying, and we are going to classify them as hate speech and hate crime, because that’s what they are,” Lacey said.

The district’s current equity policy was adopted in 2021 after four newly-elected, conservative Board of Education members voted to make changes to the policy. Some members specifically took issue with the word “equity.”

The move to change the policy was met at the time with objections from students and parents. A revised version of the policy is expected to be discussed and voted on by the board at the end of May.

The Ganzy family has retained an attorney and plans to file a lawsuit.

“This isn’t just, you know, kids will be kids. This is a higher level of harm to students who are subjected to racism and discrimination. And schools have a legal obligation — and a moral obligation — to make sure to put an end to that action, to that conduct, to educate its students,” attorney Iris Halpern said.

Denver7 reached out to Douglas County School District and was told by a spokesperson the district cannot discuss disciplinary action due to privacy. In a statement, the district said it appreciates the Ganzys “bringing their concerns to us so we can make sure our system is addressing their needs.”

“It is our goal to take care of each and every one of our students in our district. We appreciate the Ganzy family bringing their concerns to us so we can make sure our system is addressing their needs.”

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