EAST PEORIA (HOI) - Kamren Linwood was celebrating her birthday Saturday night at Elevate trampoline Park in East Peoria. An incident occurred inside when she and her friends felt they were being targeted during a game of dodge ball by other kids hitting them in the face.
After one game and another shot to the face, she confronted another boy and he subsequently called her the 'N' word, according to Linwood. She said she then told a 17-year-old white staff member about the incident. According to parents and the teens at the park, the staff member responded by saying it's okay since the boy who said it was also Black.
Parents and the kids said Elevate did not handle the situation properly, even though they have a "zero tolerance policy" according to parents.
Elevate owner agreed to meet with parents and the teens Tuesday afternoon. "Honestly I just want us to be heard and I want something done to ensure that this will stop. That we will feel wanted, protected. Because what happened that night, I lost all my worth, like I felt worthless," explained Kamren Linwood.
But her mother, Gyreasha Linwood, said "She just told us she stands behind her staff, that the boy who they made the complaint to thought it was okay for one black kid to call another black kid a expletive because he hears it on rap songs."
The owner dodged multiple attempts for an interview. But during the meeting with parents, she said they would be conducting diversity training with their employees through local community leader Agbarra Bryson.
She would not, however, discuss potential discipline for staff involved in the incident. "Well she said, and these were her exact words, I am not going to tell you what I do to my staff or how I discipline my staff," explained local NAACP President Pastor Marvin Hightower.
Additionally, Gyreasha Linwood explained why the police were called Saturday night. She said there were two other groups of kids that were fighting and had not paid to get in. She said her girls were not a part of those groups and were lumped in with the fighting because they are Black.
East Peoria Police Chief Steve Roegge met with Linwood and her daughter Tuesday to discuss sensitivity of his officers and the way the situation was handled. Both said the meeting was positive and they were pleased with how they'll be moving forward.
"I was pleased with the resolution that the Chief and I made today, but this situation, not at all," explained Linwood.