Social media makes noose situation even worseBy PAT BROWN,
T he situation with the hangman’s noose found at Mendenhall Middle School was fueled by social media.
We will be the first to say that if the way this was handled created issues for the children involved, then situations like this need to be handled in a better way.
None other than the families involved should make that decision. We believe the way the administration handeled the situation was correct.
We received a copy of the photo of the noose however, after we tried to validate it we found out the sender was most likely fictional. We then approached the school where it occurred. They started looking into the situation and tried to make a determination what the intent was, as well as who was responsible,
The idea that this is the basis as a hate crime is a stretch. This very easily could have been a child, black or white that saw a rope hanging and decided to tie it into a noose.
If you are going to use that as a standard then it would be real easy to say the three black students who were videoed beating a white student was a hate crime also. Based on what we have been told the fight is not a race issue and is going to be prosecuted by law enforcement. We do not know all the details yet, but to jump to the conclusion that it is a hate crime is not the right thing to do.
Did the people that approached the school board have the right to do so? The answer is yes. But calling in the Jackson television station before the facts and issues surrounding the situationare determined is not responsible.
We initially questioned the validation, but once the issue got on FaceBook it became a racial issue. This prompted the school district to send out a public statement. At this point we made the decision to go ahead and do our story.
The actual noose that was hanging in the cafeteria was shown at the school board meeting and those present did not want to accept that it was the noose. It was tied with a small cord and not a rope. Dr. Sanders presented the noose. He is a reasonable person and we have no reason to think that he would be part of a cover up.
It is our opinion that he helped and did a good job of diffusing the situation at the meeting which could have ended much worse.
The superintendent said that he would seek someone from the outside to investigate. We are not sure that will make a big difference and not much more will be determined that what has already determined. Regarding having grief counselors, the district plans on making those services available to students that want to take advantage of that program.
We should be reasonable and assess situations before jumping to conclusions.