A Forsyth County middle school is investigating dozens of Snapchat messages among students that included racial epithets as well as references to slavery and lynching, officials said.
The messages between Vickery Creek Middle School students were sent in a group chat on the social media platform earlier this month, according to an email from the principal to parents that was obtained by Channel 2 Action News. The email said 11 students “will be receiving disciplinary consequences for their actions.”
School officials met with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office for nearly six hours to review more than 130 screenshots of messages, the news station reported.
The mothers of two recipients of the messages spoke to Channel 2 along with their attorney. They asked to remain anonymous. The mother of a 13-year-old multiracial girl said the messages told her daughter to kill herself.
“I don’t want my daughter to feel like she doesn’t deserve to be treated ... like an equal,” she said. “This damages your self worth in a way that you cannot imagine.”
Thomas Reynolds, who represents the families, told the news station he counted at least 60 uses of the n-word in the group chat. He said there were other obscenities.
“It’s some of the worst language I’ve ever seen,” Reynolds said. “They’re talking about whipping people, hanging them in trees.”
Forsyth County Schools sent Channel 2 a statement regarding the investigation that said, in part: “The hateful language and racism used by these children are not tolerated in our schools. Forsyth County Schools expects and demands that all individuals are treated with integrity, dignity and respect.”
One of the 11 students disciplined in connection with the investigation is a biracial 13-year-old boy who “was called the n-word over and over” during the exchange, his mother told Channel 2.
The teen reacted with a threat after someone posted a picture of a slave and suggested the man in the picture was his grandfather. His grandfather died “not too long ago” and “he was very hurt” by the Snapchat conversation, the teen’s mother said. His response, however, resulted in a 10-day suspension and possible expulsion.
The district has not disclosed the specific punishments for other students involved in the incident or any other details about the investigation.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.