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NAACP offers help after Ladue students protest racial incidents at school

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Ladue police issued a misdemeanor charge Friday against a high school student who burned a classmate with a hot glue gun. The incident was one of several that prompted student protests this week over treatment of black students. District and NAACP officials hope to find solutions to both racial and derogatory slurs some Ladue students have used against classmates.

The student, 17-year-old Gabriel Vazquez, faces a third degree assault misdemeanor charge in the hot glue incident. He told police his action against a black sophomore was not politically or racially motivated.

Students protesting recent incidents, including one on a school bus last week, say discipline within the high school is sometimes harsher for African-American students. They also say they want everyone to be respected by their peers.

NAACP leaders responded to the incidents with offers of help to the school district.

"We have some things we will put together for them and hopefully it will make it better, it will." said ST. LOUIS County NAACP President Esther Haywood.

"The organization is looking to have a conversation with students. We certainly don't want them left out of this conversation. At the end of the day this is about them, making sure they feel comfortable. My challenge to those students who have been protesting is, number one, we support them. It is their constitutional right. But, number two, we are asking them is to think critically and effectively; to define what it is they are looking for district to change." said NAACP National Board Member John Gaskin.

Leaders believe racial rhetoric voiced during the intense presidential campaign may be influencing some students to repeat the language at school.

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