In adult-dominated race debate, an 11-year-old wants to be heard

Dyvonte Clinton stood with a sign shortly before participating in a downtown Minneapolis protest, Wednesday, May 13, 2015. Courtesy Susan Montgomery

When it comes to civic participation and protest, 11-year-old boys don’t usually stand out.

But Taye Clinton, a student from Linwood Monroe Arts Plus Elementary School in St. Paul, had plenty to say about what life is like for an 11-year-old biracial student in the city’s school system. He spoke at this week’s raucous school board meeting where people protested a Como Park teacher who they say has written racist posts on Facebook and on his blog.

It isn’t the first time Clinton has been on the front lines of protest. He was maced last year during a downtown Minneapolis protest.

“At least I got Maced and not shot,” he said.

When a teacher spoke Tuesday night in support of Como teacher Theodore Olson, Clinton was at the head of the line to protest his comments.

Protesters confront Jim Endres, right, after Endres spoke out in support of teacher Theodore Olson at a St. Paul school board meeting Tuesday night. Matt Sepic | MPR News

“School is really hard for me,” he told KARE 11’s Breaking the News last evening. “I would get bullied by students or teachers. I would get hurt by students or teachers.”

“I went to the school board meeting because I wanted my voice to be heard. I wanted to tell them what’s seriously going on,” he said.

“I don’t really feel like I got heard,” he said of his participation before the school board on Tuesday night.