APS student held in headlock during ‘what cops do to Black people’ game

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A game during recess at a local middle school took a dangerous turn for a young teen this week.

Teresa Robinson has had plenty of conversations with her son’s eighth grade Grant Middle School teacher. Some good, some bad, but Tuesday’s call topped them all.

“He informed me that there were three kids that asked to play with my son that aren’t in his class,” she said. “They were playing a game called what cops do to black people. They got him in a headlock.”

With the only black kid in the class – her son.

“To hear that what happened was just devastating. It was hard to hear,” Robinson said.

Robinson says her son was born premature and has learning delays. He’s in a special program at Grant Middle School called social emotional support services.

“Kids just want friends. And he thought, ‘Oh, if I don’t do this, you know, they won’t be friends,'” she said.

Robinson says her son is physically fine, but not emotionally. This goes beyond anger for her. Robinson says she’s frustrated with the lack of discussion about the real issue here.

“The lesson is never learned because you can’t go beyond ‘don’t hit or don’t do this’. Because they’re going to ask the question why and teachers are left to say, ‘Because you can’t.’ And that’s not solving any problems.”

Robinson says her mind went right to similar situations we’ve seen locally and nationally, like those involving former Las Cruces police officer Christopher Smelser, and George Floyd.

“We’re not allowed to have a conversation because people are going to get uncomfortable. But while there’s kids that may get uncomfortable discussing something that’s important, my kid is still being a part of uncomfortable situations, because other parents don’t want to have a conversation with their own children,” Robinson said.

She wants a change but says the entire APS district needs one.

“I really hope that APS takes this moment to see how serious this topic is. And being that we are a minority state. It needs to be addressed seriously. It’s time. It’s time,” she said.

A representative from APS says the Grant Middle School principal is aware of the situation and is working with the Robinson family.