Students Fearful After School’s Response To Racist Death Threats
High school students from a small Tennessee town walked out of school Monday in protest of their school’s lack of action after some white athletes threatened to lynch black students.
The students, from Haywood High School in the rural Haywood County, Tn. are outraged that school administrators haven’t appropriately responded to the school’s sports team members using social media group texts to plan to lynch their African-American peers.
“So no go on stringing a n***er up?” one student said in the group chat messages, which were obtained by BOSSIP. “I say we hang the n***er lovers and make an example out of them,” another responds.
Recording artist Lil Will attended Haywood High School and has several cousins currently in the school. He said that after the racist group texts were revealed two weeks ago, the school promised to investigate, but punished the athletes in question by making them write a 10-page letter about what they did.
“At school, you’re supposed to protect the lives of everybody,” Lil Will said. “My little cousins are scared for their life. You should be able to go to school without fear of being hanged.”
However Haywood County Schools Superintendent Joey Hassell said in a Facebook post that the school learned about the social media posts over the weekend, and the cops don’t believe a crime was committed. Hassell said the school was still investigating and would take appropriate action.
“I have also been in communication with Chief Diebold and he has consulted with the District Attorney’s office on the content of the message,” Hassell wrote. “Based on review of the DA’s office, it is my understanding that there will be no criminal charges; however, the school district will review the findings of the HHS investigation and determine what actions will be taken. A thorough review will occur.”
Hassell added: “Our job is to educate and protect all students. Hatred, racism, and bigotry have no place in our school district.”
One of the students in the racist group chats, identified as Dakota Phillips, has since said he was sorry.
“With everything that’s been going on. I would like to apologize,” Phillips wrote in a Facebook post. “The things that were said should’ve never been said. I missed up I admit it. To the town of Brownsville I sincerely apologize. These messages were taken partially. I feel terrible for the things that I have said.”
Lil Will said the school must do more to fix its culture, and take online racist intimidation more seriously. He also said Haywood High School’s measured response to the students’ racist threats contrasted with its punishment for a black student accused of claiming he had a bomb.
“The guy was suspended for two years,” Lil Will said. “And these guys have to do write a 10-page essay?”