Families of some Rowan Co. students concerned over racist threats online

Families of some Rowan Co. students concerned over racist threats online
Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 6:27 PM EST
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ROWAN COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - There’s concern in Rowan County over racist social media threats this week.

Students reported a threat of someone bringing a gun to campus on Monday and said comments circulating on social media targeted students of color.

“He’s been hearing things in the hall, passing people, saying the n-word,” parent Jason Mays said.

Jason and his wife, RoseAnn, said racist incidents in Rowan County schools aren’t new. They said racist snapchats are their most recent cause for concern.

“An anonymous snapchat was put out saying they would jump the minorities this Monday,” Lexington Giles said.

Giles said circumstances escalated over the weekend. She said her 16-year-old brother was specifically targeted in a handwritten list going around school. We asked Giles what the purpose of that list was.

“These are the people they’re going to kill. The children they’re going to murder at the school,” Giles responded.

Giles, the Mays, and other parents picked up their children early on Monday after reports there was a gun on campus. The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office said no credible threat was found.

“Something has to be done because the threat of bodily harm or death is serious, and for them to say that that’s not a credible threat-- they should even move just in case,” RoseAnn said.

The parents said they expect more accountability from the district.

“If they really wanted to, you can go and trace those snapchats that they’ve brought to you,” Giles said.

“These are more than pockets. These are more than one occasion or one instance that this happened,” Jason said.

A group of parents met Wednesday night to figure out their next steps as they demand change and accountability.

“If nobody’s going to speak up for our kids, then we have to,” Jason Mays said.

The parents said they want to see more education about race and the history behind offensive language and actions like using the n-word.

“It’s just horrible that anybody would be mean to someone just because their skin is a different color,” parent Jessica Shearer said.

Shearer’s son Malakhi is a freshman at Rowan County High School and said he was threatened over Snapchat this week. She said she’s glad to have the support from other parents as they figure out the next steps in their fight to keep their children safe.

“There’s always been stuff that I’ve had to deal with alone and it’s hard,” Shearer said. “But having other people that I can talk to, and we can help brainstorm to figure out ways to make a change, so nobody else’s kids have to go through this, it’s pretty amazing.”

The parents are waiting to hear from the NAACP. They’ve reached out to them and are expecting a response by Friday in terms of how the organization can help them moving forward or just different ways they can call for action.

The Mays said a group of parents met with the superintendent in late October, and said this incident proves no effective changes were made.

We reached out to the Rowan County School District superintendent for comment. He did not provide a response.

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