WIGGINS, Miss. (AP) — The president of the Mississippi NAACP is demanding a federal hate crime investigation after the parents of a black high school student said as many as four white students put a noose around their son’s neck at school.
“No child should be walking down the hall or in a locker room and be accosted with a noose around their neck,” president Derrick Johnson said Monday during a news conference in Wiggins. “This is 2016, not 1916. This is America. This is a place where children should go to school and feel safe in their environment.”
Johnson said the incident happened Oct. 13 near a locker room at Stone High School in Wiggins.
Hollis and Stacey Payton, parents of the alleged victim, attended the news conference but did not speak. Their son, a sophomore football player, was not with them and they did not release his name.
The NAACP said the incident happened during a break in football practice and that the noose was “yanked backward” while on the student’s neck.
Johnson would not say whether noose left any marks on the black student. According to a statement from the student’s family, he returned to football practice after the incident, said Ayana Kinnel, a spokeswoman for the state NAACP.
Stone High has about 800 students, about a quarter of whom are black according to state figures. That’s not a particularly high percentage in Mississippi, where half of nearly 500,000 public school students are African-American.
Wiggins, 35 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico, is a logging town. Many people commute from the 18,000-resident county to jobs in Gulfport and other coastal cities.
Mississippi has struggled with a history of racial division. It is the last state that still incorporates the Confederate battle emblem on its state flag. In 2014, two out-of-state students at the University …read more