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Racist remarks spark outrage

AHOSKIE – Racist remarks made by high school students on social media have the local community and school officials drawing a proverbial line in the sand.

Brunet Parker, Public Information Officer for Hertford County Public Schools (HCPS), said the posts were made Thursday on Facebook and originally involved two students enrolled at Hertford County Early College High School.

The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald observed screenshots of those posts, which used the “n” word and “f-bombs” on more than one occasion. Those references sparked numerous comments, some from former students of the same school who expressed their outrage at the racist and foul language.

Parker said that one of the students later posted an apology on Facebook.

“But the damage was already done by then,” Parker told the News-Herald on Friday morning.

“The message we want to deliver to our students, our parents and our community is that Hertford County Schools will not tolerate racist remarks or bullying,” Parker stressed. “Our top priority has and always will be the safety of our students and staff. When hurtful and offensive remarks like these are made public, they undermine our efforts to provide a safe educational environment for our students and staff.”

Dr. William T. Wright Jr., HCPS Superintendent, said he was deeply troubled by the racist comments made by the students.

“We are a diverse school district and celebrate that diversity in every way. These posts do not reflect the culture of HCPS,” stated Dr. Wright. “Racist comments, videos, photos and such will not be tolerated.

“As a 53 year-old African-American, I’ve been advocating through my daily actions for an even playing field. Even as leaders, it’s just different for us. Rarely have I asked for help. Now I am. We all must address the injustices that we see everyday, everytime,” he added.

Dr. Wright said that he and his staff have been in collaboration with the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office concerning this matter.

Hertford County Sheriff Dexter Hayes said a report was received and the racist comments made by the students were documented.

“We have made contact with all the parties involved and are our investigation into this matter remains open at this time,” Hayes said on Friday afternoon.

“Hertford County Public Schools is very proud of the diversity in our community,” Dr. Wright noted. “The district does not need to lose sight of this important attribute because of the actions of a few. Whether face to face or on social media, there is no place for hate in Hertford County Public Schools District. It is completely unacceptable and we hold the line of a zero tolerance of such behavior.

“Our district’s mission is Hertford County Public Schools, the choice for all families, provides a safe and caring environment, which empowers and globally competitive students through diverse opportunities,” Wright concluded.

 

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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