Mississippi high school student victim of racial hate crime

Columnist Kendall Grove

Columnist Kendall Grove

The Mississippi NAACP reported on Oct. 13 at Stone High School in southern Mississippi, a white student threw a noose around a black student’s neck and pulled the noose tight.

It’s believed the white student who threw the noose is a high school football player and that the situation occurred in the football field house.

The NAACP is calling for a federal investigation because it was found that the alleged attacker was not expelled and the victim’s parents were not informed of what disciplinary action was being taken against the attacker.

In response to the NAACP’s claims, the Stone County School District Superintendent Inita Owen said in a statement to CNN that their district “takes all matters involving students very seriously and will do everything within its power to make sure that all policies and procedures were adhered to and that all of its students have a safe place to receive an education.”

The Stone High School Football Coach John Feaster told ESPN that the attacker, who was a football player, was kicked off the team.

Although we are living in 2016, it’s easy to forget that many areas in the United States are not as far along as they should be in creating a society free of racism.

The African-American Civil Rights Movement which lasted from 1954-1968 was only 48 years ago. Forty-eight years later, we are still facing racism in the U.S.

Some think that because we have desegregated,  racism is no longer a problem.  Not only was the situation with the noose a form of bullying, it was also racially triggered.

By not protecting the victim, Stone High School is setting an example for the rest of its students. The NAACP said in a statement, “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.”

If Stone High School had used this policy, the attacker should have been suspended at the very least.

Counseling Today,  a magazine run by the American Counseling Association, suggests that when dealing with multicultural-social justice situations it’s important to “implement comprehensive counseling and advocacy services in school settings that are aimed at preventing [racial problems].”

Most high schools don’t have discipline in place for racial situations, so there is a gray area when it comes to the school administration.

Although expulsion seems to be the obvious answer for this problem, it may only be the easy answer. Suspension with a mandatory attendance of a social injustice class that covers the civil rights movement would be more effective in the long run.

Simply expelling the attacker does not do anything to prevent the racist behavior from happening again.

If high schools could implement a anti-hate or hate crime policy in regards to racial problems, it would help to educate and prevent racist behavior from continuing to happen.  

Most high schools leave racial education to history and English classes. This isn’t enough to counteract the racism students could be seeing outside of high school in their community and families. High school’s need to take responsibility and step up their race acceptance education.