A school district in Alabama has been getting hammered by critics online after high school students allegedly exchanged racially violent and threatening messages—including remarks about lynching Black people—on social media.
On Tuesday, SnapChat messages circulated between students within the Oneonta City Schools district, sparking an investigation after three students reported the horrific exchange of messages to administrators.
“This afternoon, three students reported a Snapchat message from the previous evening occurring off campus between several other students that were offensive and divisive,” Oneonta City Schools posted on its Facebook page Wednesday. “I’m proud of the students for reporting this to their administrators as it speaks highly of them and their rapport with their administrators.
“The administrators immediately researched the Snapchat messages to gather facts and a decision was made to take immediate disciplinary action against those involved,” the post continued, limiting who could respond in the comments. “Our schools will not tolerate this type of behavior.”
The post garnered hundreds of reactions and dozens of shares, and community members flocked to social media to share their disgust with how the school district allegedly handled the students involved.
“I really love how they disabled the comments,” Oneonta resident Natalie Maude wrote. “I heard all they got was in school suspension and a slap on the wrist. Go figure. Go redskins.”
“So a threat that incites violence against another student that involves rope and a pitch fork is fine bc it wasn’t done in school grounds… But a threat about violence with a gun would be different? A threat is a threat!” wrote another Oneonta resident, Lela Chacon Price. “Way to go Oneonta, I’m so glad you handled this so swiftly! Apparently your schools will tolerate this type of behavior, you will get two days of ISS.”
Screenshots of the vile SnapChat messages were shared on Facebook Wednesday by Oneonta High School alumnus Landon Bothwell, who said he obtained the images from his brother and current Oneonta student, Da’Marion “Fluff” Bothwell. Landon said Da’Marion got the messages from one of the other students included in the SnapChat group, and Landon decided to post them on Facebook to “let everyone know what that school is really about.”
“This type of activity isn’t anything new [at Oneonta],” Landon told The Daily Beast Thursday, explaining that it appeared as if the people in the group were planning to do something on the night of homecoming.
According to Oneonta’s football schedule, the homecoming game is planned for Sept. 22 against Fultondale High School.
In the screenshots, at least six people engaged in the SnapChat conversation.
“Let’s bring candles and nooses to school while wearing it,” one person says. “Hang the blacks.”
“With torches,” another person chimes in.
Another person suggests bringing “pitchforks,” “cotton plants,” and “signs that say negro bathrooms this way.”
“Let’s be KKK members,” another suggests, as others in the chat agree to the idea.
The Daily Beast reviewed unedited images of the screenshots, but chose to remove the students’ names. However, each of their names corresponded with players on Oneonta High School’s baseball team.
No one from the superintendent’s office of Oneonta City Schools, the school board, the Oneonta High School administration, the Oneonta High School baseball team, or the parents of the students who allegedly exchanged the racist SnapChat messages immediately responded to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment Thursday.