Hanover in­ves­ti­gat­ing racist post of teens, one with gun

School sys­tem won’t say if two boys in photo are stu­dents

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - NEWS - BY KENYA HUNTER Rich­mond Times-Dis­patch khunter@timesdis­patch.com (804) 649-6922 Staff Writer C. Suarez Ro­jas con­trib­uted to this re­port

The Hanover County Sher­iff’s Of­fice is in­ves­ti­gat­ing a racist so­cial me­dia post that in­cludes a photo of two white teens, one of whom is hold­ing a gun.

“Let’s hunt some (n-----),” reads the mes­sage, posted to Snapchat.

Hanover County Pub­lic Schools spokesman Chris Whit­ley said the school dis­trict re­ported the post to the Sher­iff’s Of­fice. He would not say whether the teens were Hanover schools stu­dents, say­ing the sys­tem could not “legally dis­cuss spe­cific stu­dents or their ed­u­ca­tional records.”

“With­out ques­tion, Hanover County Pub­lic Schools does not tol­er­ate racist, vul­gar, pro­fane, or ob­scene lan­guage or con­duct,” Whit­ley said in a state­ment.

The Sher­iff’s Of­fice has iden­ti­fied the boys in the pic­ture but will not re­lease their names be­cause they are un­der 18, said county Su­per­vi­sor Faye Prichard, who called the mes­sage “hor­rific, ugly and aw­ful. And quite frankly stupid.”

“There must be con­se­quences for this,” she added.

What that might en­tail was un­clear Wed­nes­day. A spokesman for the Sher­iff’s Of­fice would not an­swer ques­tions about the post or what charge, specif­i­cally, was un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion. All but one Hanover School Board mem­ber de­clined com­ment or did not re­spond to ques­tions.

Reached by phone, board mem­ber Nor­man Sulser ex­pressed con­cern: “I’m dis­turbed by any­one do­ing that, no mat­ter what school they at­tend.”

The post, shared widely by stu­dents and com­mu­nity mem­bers out­raged over the con­tent, did not come as a sur­prise to Pa­tri­cia Hunter-Jor­dan.

“I wish I was shocked, but I wasn’t,” said Hun­terJor­dan, vice pres­i­dent of the Hanover NAACP. She at­trib­uted the racist lan­guage to a prob­lem­atic cul­ture tol­er­ant of racism and slow to con­demn it.

The group sued the school dis­trict in Au­gust, ar­gu­ing that the names of Lee-Davis High School and Stonewall Jack­son Mid­dle School vi­o­late the con­sti­tu­tional rights of black stu­dents. The suit al­leges that the names cre­ate an un­equal learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment and force stu­dent-ath­letes to en­dorse the Con­fed­er­acy.

Lawyers for Hanover schools sought to dis­miss the case, say­ing a twoyear statute of lim­i­ta­tions on the claims has passed. The county named both schools more than 50 years ago.

U.S. Dis­trict Judge Robert Payne has yet to rule of­fi­cially on the school dis­trict’s mo­tion, but said in a March hear­ing that it could be too late for the NAACP’s claims.

The trial was set to be­gin Mon­day, but in April the court de­layed it in­def­i­nitely.

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