A New Mexico mother said her two sons saved up money to travel to Colorado to attend a college tour, but she said they were pulled from it because of the way they look.

Thomas Gray, 19, is a freshman at Northern New Mexico College in Espanola. His younger brother, Lloyd, 17, is a high school senior at Santa Fe Indian School. The teens scheduled a campus tour Monday at Colorado State University.

Thomas said he’s always wanted to live in Denver because of the music scene, so the two brothers started to save up money.

“We’re not rich,” Lorraine said. “Maybe people who have money to go to a school like that don’t think twice about it, but for them to scrape together the gas money, the food money and travel seven hours away from home and take our only car, it broke my heart.”

Lorraine couldn’t make the trip, so the two boys left for CSU together.

Thomas admits he and his brother joined a group minutes into a tour that had already begun.

“After we met up with the group I went up to the tour guide and said, ‘Hi. I’m Thomas. Me and my brother are with this group,” he said.

They even snapped a photo and sent it to Lorraine.

“I felt so relieved when they text me and said, ‘We’re here,'” she said. “I was so worried about them getting in an accident or lost in the city, but to get a call from the place where I thought they were going to be safe…”

Not even an hour went by when Lorraine said she got a call from Thomas saying someone in the group had called campus police on them.

“‘Somebody called the police on us because we’re quiet,'” she said.

According to CSU, it was another parent participating in the tour who called campus police to say the two teens made her “nervous.” Lorraine called it racial profiling.

“What else could have it had been? They didn’t say a word. They weren’t acting wild. They were quiet,” she said.

Lorraine and her sons are part of the Mohwak Reservation in Upstate New York. The family moved here in 2009.
“Of course (CSU) is not responsible for this parent who is prejudice to whatever her views are, but they are responsible for how they responded to her actions,” Lorraine said.

Thomas said once police got to the group, officers pulled them aside, made them empty out their pockets and patted them down. The tour guide told Lorraine she didn’t notice her two teens had left with police.

“You have a group of 15 people?” Lorraine said. “I don’t buy it and if you do notice it, don’t you stop and say something like, ‘Excuse me officer, is there a problem?'”

Thomas said once officers confirmed they were part of the tour, the group had already moved on and Lorraine had ordered them back home. She said when she spoke to the officer who responded to the call, he they told her, “Maybe that will be a lesson for your kids that when they’re in a public situation, they should speak up?”

Lorraine said that’s exactly what she’s doing now.

“If you stay quiet about things, they’ll continue to happen and it’s our responsibility to speak out,” she said.
As for the other mother who Lorraine said judged her sons based on their appearance, “I would like to say, I hope this never happens to your child and I hope you learn a lesson about judging a book by its cover,” Lorraine said.

Lorraine said she has been in contact with the school. She said the administration apologized and said she’s welcome to file a formal complaint, if she wishes. The college also posted its response here