The actress, 44, said she's instead sending her son to her alma mater, Howard Univerity

By Maria Mercedes Lara
Updated March 23, 2015 11:40 AM
Credit: Jason Kempin/Getty

The University of Southern California may be the school of choice for quite a few celebrity children, but Taraji P. Henson won’t be sending her son there anytime soon.

The Empire star revealed in an interview with Uptown magazine that she decided to not let her son Marcel, 20, go to USC after he was reportedly stopped by the police.

“My child has been racially profiled,” the actress, 44, said while discussing race issues with the magazine. “He was in Glendale, California, and did exactly everything the cops told him to do, including letting them illegally search his car. It was bogus because they didn t give him the ticket for what he was pulled over for.”

“Then he’s at University of Southern California, the school that I was going to transfer him to, when police stopped him for having his hands in his pockets.”

“So guess where he’s going? Howard University,” Henson said. “I’m not paying $50K so I can’t sleep at night wondering is this the night my son is getting racially profiled on campus.”

Howard University and Henson already share a bond – she attended the famed college after transferring from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, where she was majoring in electrical engineering. (She later switched to a theater major at Howard.)

Chief of the Department of Public Safety at The University of California, John Thomas, told PEOPLE in a written statement that he was “deeply disturbed” by the allegations.

“I would like to look into this matter further and better understand who was involved and what took place. As someone who personally experienced racial profiling as a teenager, I have a stake in learning more about this incident and doing all I can to reach a just resolution,” he wrote. “Any allegation of bias or unequal treatment by university officers would trigger an investigation that I would supervise along with the university s Office of Equity and Diversity.”

Henson previously told PEOPLE that she considers her son Marcel the “greatest gift” she’s ever received.

“He’s working two jobs and is in school even though he doesn’t have to be,” she said. “I planted a good seed in him.”

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