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Rowan County parents call for change after students receive racist messages, threats

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Posted at 7:26 PM, Nov 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-19 10:28:22-05

ROWAN COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Parents in Rowan County Schools are speaking out after a racist threat went out to students over Snapchat on Monday.

Students say a series of threats started circulating over social media, specifically Snapchat, through an anonymous question prompt.

"One of my friends got posted just sitting in class doing his homework called the N-word and stuff on the story," said a student who wished to remain anonymous.

On Tuesday, she and a number of other black students stayed home from school out of fear for their safety.

"It's never a good feeling not knowing what's going to happen, always on your toes, looking over your shoulder," the student said.

Multiple students and parents sent photos and messages of a string of racial slurs directed toward students of color both at school and on Snapchat.

Superintendent John Maxey says they are taking concerns seriously, but the sheriff's office investigated and didn't find good solid evidence to do anything further based on the reports they were hearing.

"Yesterday they had no reason to feel anybody was in danger or that there was any credible threat that was an immediate threat to the students. And of course, a lockdown is reserved for our most emergent, most escalated emergency situations," said Maxey.

Maxey says there were two extra officers at the high school on Tuesday to ease minds.

"We are concerned about their well-being and how they felt in that environment," Maxey said. "So, we wanted to just reassure them, that although we don't feel there's any extra threat out there, we want to bring in some extra help."

Parents are keeping their kids home from school, unable to trust that their concerns are being heard.

"I'm at a point where I'm asking myself and the staff, 'What are you waiting for? Are you waiting for them to shoot? Are you waiting to actually see the gun with your own eyes,'" said Lexington Giles.

Giles and parent Roseann Mays are a part of a larger group of parents who meet and discuss racial issues within the school district called "Fighting for our Future".

They say they've been bringing the issues up for years and are frustrated to see their student's safety is now involved.

"There should be a zero-tolerance policy all the way into expulsion. They should be afraid to threaten other people regardless of what they look like," said Mays.

Superintendent Maxey says they are working on changes.

"We certainly don't feel like that we have a wide systemic issue of racism, but we do have small pockets of racism that occur, and we are looking into addressing that," said Maxey.

We will continue to update this story as we learn more.