A South Carolina student is under investigation and facing expulsion after posting a racist and threatening photo on Snapchat, sparking concern at her Greenville County school.
The female student, who attends Hillcrest High School in Simpsonville, is seen in the photo holding a gun and poster that reads “We hang n—–rs for free :)” Authorities said resource officers at the school did not learn of the incendiary post until Tuesday and immediately began investigating.
“According to [Simpsonville] police, the investigation into the matter didn’t reveal any credible threats to any students or staff at the school and all other pertinent information was transferred to the proper jurisdiction for follow-up,” Fox Carolina reported.
Police Capt. Cheryl Manley told 7 News that while the post is inappropriate and runs counter to people’s beliefs, “it’s not illegal because it’s freedom of speech.”
On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for Greenville County Schools confirmed the unnamed student has been suspended and recommended for expulsion.
The offending post has sparked concern among parents and students in the Hillcrest school community, who’ve accused the administration of trying to protect the student in question. Traci Frant, who reblogged a photo of the racist Snap on Facebook, blasted the social networking site for flagging her post as hate speech and deleting it.
“I’ve said it before, and I will continue to say [that] Facebooks “community standards” policies are only enforced to limit those who have a following or are considered ‘influencers,’ ” Frant wrote.
“To know that people would rather report a post, than correct the person who made the racist/threatening post is pathetic,” she added. “It has been confirmed that this is a student who attends Hillcrest high school. However, the administration seems to be more concerned with the ‘threats’ to her safety than the threat that she made towards African Americans…or N#GGERs as she called them while holding a shotgun. “
The post also drew a response from the Greenville NAACP, who called the photo a “racist attack.”
“We are saddened to hear of a racial attack on blacks by a white student in Greenville County Schools,” chapter president Rev. J.M. Flemming said in a statement. “This shows the issue of racism is very real sense this youth was not born during times of civil rights era then racial hatred is embedded.”
“Greenville County must be open to tell the truth about racism and continue dialogue about racism and its effects,” Flemming argued, adding that “this racial attack is at the expulsion level of the school districts Zero Tolerance Policy.”
In the wake of the incident, officials at Hillcrest High said its students have banded together in unity to fight against what sought to divide and wreak havoc amongst the community. The hate-filled post also prompted students to create a banner with the message “I am, you are, we are, Hillcrest.”
“This is not who we are, this is not who we have been and this is not who we will be,” students Tara Booker and Jake Bray, who led the movement calling on the student body to unite, said in a joint statement. “We will not let this incident define us or keep us divided.”
The circumstances surrounding the photo remain under investigation.