A black doll was hung from a noose on Wakefield High School's building on Tuesday, with a sign that said, "Make Wakefield Tripp again."
This was an attack against principal Malik Bazzel, who has been in that position for two years, students report. The sign accompanying the teddy bear was in reference to the previous principal, Tripp Crayton.
Bazzel called the act that happened at the high school located in Raleigh, NC "deeply offensive."
Nathan Blue, who graduated from Wakefield in 2016, said that the dislike for the new principal is not racially driven, "More that the previous principal was incredibly well liked. He [Bazzel] came in, and a lot of the way the school operated changed. People blamed him personally for that."
Continuing on, he said, "Given the area, I wouldn't be surprised if there were some people who did have some racial bias, though."
Wakefield High School's Black Student Union took to Twitter to clarify the difference between a prank and a hate crime.
Bazzell sent this announcement out.
Last academic year, the senior pranks started to get more insensitive when students spray painted swastikas on the school's sidewalks. The students were not allowed to walk at graduation.
"Being that we are in a predominantly white school we experience racism on a daily basis," said Jewel Baret, a junior at Wakefield.
"We can't stop people from being racist; racism has always existed and will always exist," she said. "We can't pinpoint every single racist situation or every single time an African American was called a n*gger, but when bold acts of racism occur such as this one, we need to act on what we can. This isn't the first and it won't be the last, so we need to do something about things we can improve."
Baret also spoke on a big racist and homophobic event that happened earlier in the school year. Jaysen, a black and openly gay student, was on homecoming court, and the "primarily (almost entirely with a handful of exceptions) white crowd booed him and called him a n*gger."
Gabby Schmidt, a senior at Wakefield, went to an assembly Tuesday afternoon after the incident. The rally was a safe space for students to talk about the racism they experienced at the school.
"The campus seems really divided at the moment, but in many ways at the same time I've never seen so many students come together," Schmidt said.
"A lot of racist experiences are coming up while students are sharing and the room feels a little tense, the only students that have come up to speak are people of color and the other student are just sitting back," she said while at the assembly.
Schmidt said that while "many people are against [the racist act]," she has heard many of her "predominantly white classmates say that, 'It's just a joke,' 'It's not that serious' and 'I don't see what the big deal is.'"
"We need to come together and instead of attacking a whole group of people, we should get consequences for whoever did this, no matter their race," she said.
The investigation is ongoing.
Lead Image Credit: @lexi4prez via Twitter