Racist threat to black students at California high school sparks fear in parents
Parents of black students at a California high school are concerned for the safety of their children after a threat was made on Instagram earlier this month.
Parents told NBC News they had few details regarding the incident involving the threat made against black students attending Western High School in Anaheim and were unhappy with the response from school staff. ‘school.
The threat took the form of an image posted to Instagram, which was reviewed by NBC News. The accompanying text warned the school to be “ready” and used a racial slur above an image of handguns, a semi-automatic rifle and other firearms. It’s unclear when the image was posted, but it’s no longer publicly available as it was a story post, which is only 24 hours old.
Victor James, whose son Kenneth is a junior, said ‘no one’ at the school is ‘really doing anything to make sure we’re okay’.
“We don’t feel safe,” he said. “We don’t feel like it’s really taken seriously.”
“Nobody makes much of it,” he added. “What do we have to do? Did one of our children get killed before someone showed up to say something?”
John Bautista, the public information officer for the Anaheim Union High School district, said in a statement Monday that the incident was “under investigation by the Anaheim Police Department.”
He also referenced an email sent to families on May 5, stating that the district is “aware of a threat circulating on social media platforms regarding a school shooting” at “Western High School and d ‘other schools in Orange County and across the country’. Law enforcement “deemed the threat NOT CREDIBLE” and encouraged the community to “say something if they see anything and report any concerns,” the statement said.
Several schools in several states, including North Carolina, received threats that day, and staff at several schools deemed the threat unspecified, an ABC News station in Durham reported. The Coral Springs Police Department in Florida arrested an 18-year-old last Friday over a social media post threatening a mass shooting at a school, according to NBC Miami, but it’s unclear if the person arrested was related to the threat targeting Western High Students.
Some parents said they were on the lookout for the threat following a series of racist encounters they said their children experienced with little intervention from the school administration. James’ wife, Pamela Driskel-James, said there had been “an escalation” in racist acts towards their son since the last school year. Some racist acts, including the vandalism of black student cars, often targeted her son’s football team, which includes many black players.
Western High School administrators did not return multiple requests for comment on the experiences of black students.
The racist acts finally came to the attention of school staff last spring and local police monitored football games until the end of the season, she said. She said a month later, school officials informed her that about four Latino students jumped on her son as he walked to class. Although he did not sustain any injuries, Driskel-James said she fears for his safety.
“It’s built and that’s why it’s so scary,” Driskel-James said.
The Anaheim Police Department has investigated “numerous school-related threats that occurred on May 5” and takes all threats seriously, its public information officer, Sgt. Jonathan McClintock said in a statement. Investigations are ongoing, he added, and the department plans to release additional details “as soon as possible.”
The department also said it has increased patrols at local schools and anyone with additional information about the threats should contact it.
Shanay Joshway, one of the parents, said that on May 8, she spoke with vice-principal Matthew Griffin, who told her that the student who threatened Western High School “was a boy from Savanna High School. “. Yet, she said, when she later spoke to Anaheim Police Investigator Robert Reams, she was informed that “he has no information on Savanna High School or on a little boy detained there”.
Griffin and Reams did not respond to requests for comment from NBC News.
Joshway said her conversation with the investigator made her “uncomfortable again”. She also wants “everyone to be on the same page and know what’s going on and let parents know what’s going on because it has to do with the safety of our children,” she said. added.
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