State

Principal calls black teddy bear hanging from Wakefield High School building 'offensive'

RALEIGH - Wakefield High School students arrived on campus Tuesday morning to find a black teddy bear hanging by a noose from the building next to a sign that read "Make Wakefield TRIPP again #smartlunch".

The school's principal is working with WCPSS Security to investigate the incident.

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He said someone hung a doll by its neck from the roof of the school building overnight or early Tuesday.

It was quickly removed, but many staff and students saw it, and a photo is circulating on social media.

"Let me be clear: This was an offensive act that has no place in our school. The imagery is deeply offensive and everyone in our school community should be appalled," said Principal Malik Bazzell

The Wake County School District even took to their social media accounts to ensure parents and students that incidents like this will not be tolerated.

And the students aren't taking this matter lightly either.

"I don't think it was a senior prank," said Wakefield High School senior Sami Walsh. "It has nothing to do with seniors because we're out of here, so why would we care about that? It was definitely a hate crime. It's not a prank."

"We just want to make sure that people of color in Wake County can feel safe and be able to come to school and not have to worry about seeing a noose hanging from the ceiling," said Wakefield High School Black Student Union Vice President India Card.

Bazzell said the school's stadium and baseball field were also vandalized.

"Vandalism is a crime and we will seek criminal charges," said Bazzell in a message on the school's website.

Students told WTVD  the sign was in reference to bringing back their former white principal. Bazzell has been principal at Wakefield High School since 2015.


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