Raleigh, NC – Vandals hung a black doll from a noose at a North Carolina high school and called for a white principal’s return in a banner evoking Donald Trump’s campaign slogan. School principal Malik Bazzell called the incident a “deeply offensive” act.
A black Santa Claus doll was hung by the neck from a rope draped from the rooftop of Wakefield High School in Raleigh, along with a white sheet spray-painted with the words, “Make Wakefield Tripp again #smartlunch,” reported The News & Observer.
The sign apparently referred to former principal Tripp Crayton, who is white and was replaced in 2015 by principal Malik Bazzell, who is black. Crayton left to become principal of Jordan-Matthews High School in Chatham County.
Bazzell has been more strict about enforcing school rules than Crayton, said Taylor Rosbrook, 17, a senior at Wakefield. Bazzell angered students by suspending SMART Lunch — a 55-minute period in the afternoon that allowed students to make up work, socialize or leave campus to eat under certain conditions — due to alleged misbehavior.
Students were using words such as “racist” and “hate crime” to describe Tuesday’s incident.
“Let’s talk about the difference between a prank and a hate crime,” tweeted the Wa
“Let me be clear: This was an offensive act that has no place in our school,” Bazzell said in the statement. “The imagery is deeply offensive and everyone in our school community should be appalled.”
The doll was hung overnight Monday or early Tuesday, and a number of students saw the display and circulated photos on social media.
The school’s football stadium and baseball field were also damaged in the incident.
Bazzell said criminal charges would be sought in the incident, which remains under investigation by police and officials for Wake County schools.
“It is in no way funny,” Bazzell said. “It is not a prank.”
Wakefield High is 47 percent white, 30 percent black and 14 percent Hispanic.