Black Mom Came With All The Smoke After She Claimed Boston-Area School Allowed Kids to Bully Her Son

A Black mother demands accountability from the suburban Boston school district that allegedly ignored multiple racial bullying incidents targeting her son.

Lawyers for Civil Rights filed a federal civil rights complaint on June 3 with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights on behalf of Nita Holder and her 12-year-old son, David Palacio.


According to the complaint, the Melrose Public School District and Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School failed to prevent and fix its racially hostile environment. Palacio, now a seventh-grader, experienced racial harassment for a year, including white students calling him the N-word on several occasions and physical assaults.

“He was repeatedly called racial slurs and the administration did nothing but blame and discipline him, and they should be held accountable,” Holder said. “An investigation can’t take back the trauma David faced at a formative time in his life, but it can begin the process of ensuring Melrose is better for future Black students.”

Federal civil rights complaint filed against Melrose Public Schools for alleged racial bullying

The complaint highlighted four racial bullying incidents. In one example, Palacio was eating lunch outside the library on Sept. 8, 2023, when two white students approached him. They physically attacked Palacio after one of them called him the N-word. Six teachers restrained Palacio, but only one stepped in to stop the two white students. One of the teachers took Palacio to the vice principal’s office, and he was given a one-day suspension.


“…The school’s response in support of the racist perpetrators essentially endorsed and condoned the racist assault against David,” the complaint states, adding that school officials didn’t bother to investigate the incident.


According to the complaint, this racial bias and injustice made school a living hell for him. The complaint noted, “The school’s inaction created a strong impression that Black students like David could be insulted and violently attacked without any consequences for the racist perpetrators. This unleashed further racial violence targeted at David.”


CBS Boston reports that Melrose Public Schools interim Superintendent John Macero said, “We take any allegation of individual or systemic discrimination very seriously in Melrose Public Schools and we are committed to fostering a safe and equitable educational environment for all.”

Is the school district really committed to changing the environment? Its history casts doubt.


According to, the school district, which is 75 percent white and 5.5 percent Black, has a history of ignoring racial bullying complaints. The U.S. Department of Education found in 2015 that Melrose failed to comply with its obligation to fix its racially hostile environment, which prompted the department’s Civil Rights Office to begin monitoring the district under an agreement that expired in 2016.

Palacio isn’t alone. Other Black students have complained about the school district’s racist environment. Recently, an 11-year-old fifth grader at the Melrose Winthrop Elementary School, says classmates cut off her braids at school.


The school district says it plans to cooperate with federal officials. But Holder isn’t waiting for school officials to clean up its racist environment. She moved her son to a school in Boston.

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