The NAACP claims that a group of white Mississippi high school students placed a noose around the neck of a black student on Oct. 13 and yanked backwards. The organization is now demanding that a full investigation into the incident, according to the Washington Post.
The incident occurred in a Stone High School locker room when at least four white students approached the black sophomore football player, tossed the rope around his neck and pulled it back.
“No child should be walking down the hall or in a locker room and be accosted with a noose around their neck,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson said. “This is 2016, not 1916. This is America. This is a place where children should go to school and feel safe in their environment.”
While the student wasn’t injured, he was justifiably terrified. He did return to football practice after the incident.
The mother of the student claim that local authorities discouraged her from filing a police report because one of the attackers had a parent who was once a law enforcement officer. However, Sheriff’s Capt. Ray Boggs, who is black, says that, while he did warn her against filing an official report, he did so because of the potential tension it could create for the student.
“It’s probably one of the hardest cases I’ll ever handle in my career, because of the nature of it,” Boggs told the Associated Press. “Have I ever had to deal with something like this? No, not from a high school.”
Johnson is working to ensure that the accused students are charged as adults, although they’re all under the age of 17, and the incident is classified as a hate crime.
“Allowing students to commit blatant hate crimes without severe consequences sends a message to students that their safety and well-being are not valuable enough to be protected,” the NAACP said in a statement.
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