Haywood HS students walk out in protest of racist social media messages

WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News talks to Kyler Douglas, the man who first posted the screenshots of the Snapchat messages allegedly written by Haywood High School students.

 

BROWNSVILLE, Tenn. — A large group of students have walked out of Haywood High School in protest of social media messages allegedly written by other students containing racial slurs and threatening language.

What appears to be hundreds of students walked out Monday morning. Many are dressed in black along with some of the parents who are on scene. One parent said she was there to help make sure the protest remained peaceful.

Police are also on scene and have blocked the road with their patrol cars.

WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News has received several Facebook messages containing screenshots of Snapchat messages containing racial slurs and threatening language that viewers said were written by students at the school.

Kyler Douglas, the man who first posted the screenshots of the Snapchat messages, said someone else showed them to him. He said he then saw that his younger brother’s name was mentioned in the messages along with threats of hanging someone.

“I just want everyone to be aware of what’s going on in the school,” Douglas said. “And the kids are scared, because obviously they already had it and nobody posted it.”

He said he hopes the student protest has a positive outcome.

“I want something to come out of it,” Douglas said. “I don’t know what it’s going to be.”

Haywood County Schools Superintendent Joey Hassell issued the following statement Monday morning on Facebook:

“I was made aware of the social media post regarding Haywood High School on Sunday morning.

I have requested a detailed report of the investigation to date from the HHS administration.

I have also been in communication with Chief Diebold and he has consulted with the District Attorney’s office on the content of the message. Based on review of the DA’s office, it is my understanding that there will be no criminal charges; however, the school district will review the findings of the HHS investigation and determine what actions will be taken. A thorough review will occur.

Our job is to educate and protect all students. Hatred, racism, and bigotry have no place in our school district.

Please know that we are cooperating with the Brownsville Police Department to ensure that we have a safe, orderly learning environment for our students.”

WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News has a crew on scene and will have more information as it becomes available.