Local News

Sheriff Deputies To Interview Students At Cumberland County H.S.

Posted February 28, 2002

— The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office will interview students at

Massey Hill Classical High School

after inappropriate comments were posted to an Internet chatroom.

A group of students from the school allegedly posted pro-white comments to EZBoard.com. Principal Joyce Adams said some of the remarks were disturbing and racist in nature.

"They were pronouncing an Anglo-Saxon society," she said.

The comment on the Web site said "you could go to a local store and get a discount on white sheets, combat boots and lighter fluid."

If the comments turn out to be from Massey Hill students, senior Swayzine Bryant isaid she will be disappointed in her classmates. She said the students are just now trying to move on from

last year's bus crash

.

"We've been through a lot together and now the comments on the Web are tearing us apart slowly but surely," she said. "It's hard because we aren't unified like we used to be."

As the sheriff's office conducts its investigation, Adams wants to open a dialogue about racism with her students. She said she hopes it will be a learning experience for them.

"The issues here, I think, will initially probably pull us apart a little bit as we begin to figure out what we feel and what we believe, but as a school what I hope that we can do is find ways that we can begin to understand each other, we can learn about each other and it will bring us closer together in the long run," she said.

District Attorney Ed Grannis has requested the help of the Sheriff's Office in the investigation of allegations of racial intimidation. It is a move supported by Raymond Shipman, president of the local chapter of the NAACP.

"When things of this nature are brought forth, it is best to investigate them and investigate them thoroughly to make sure it either is or is not. Again, let's not do anything after the fact, but before the fact," he said.

Cumberland County deputies will visit Massey Hill next week to interview students individually. Parents are allowed to be present for those meetings.

Adams has formed a student taskforce to help her educate students. She also said that she has talked to every student at the school in small groups and encouraged them to come forward if they have been subject to any kind of harassment.

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