Local News

Wakefield High School investigates teddy bear, sign hanged from roof

Posted May 30

— School officials are investigating Tuesday morning after someone hanged a teddy bear by its neck by a rope next to a sign that read “Make Wakefield Tripp Again #SmartLunch" from the roof of Wakefield High School.

Wakefield High School investigates teddy bear, sign hanged from roof

Parents and students claim the act references the former principal, Tripp Crayton, who was replaced by Malik Bazzell in 2015.

"Let me be clear: This was an offensive act that has no place in our school," Bazzell said in a release. "The imagery is deeply offensive and everyone in our school community should be appalled."

Many parents, who did not want to be identified over concerns of how it may affect their child at school, were upset about the incident and believe it was racially motivated.

"I was very hurt about this when I heard about it. But I was also angry because I send my child to school to get an education, I don't send him to school to get to walk into the building and be hit in the face with a black stuffed animal being hung from the building," said one mother. "I mean, you hear about it at different schools, but I did not think it would happen at Wakefield."

"I think it is sad. I think it is going to have a major impact on all these children, especially children of color," a second mother said. "People like to believe racism doesn't exist. That is not true, that is so not true."

Bazzell said the incident may have been part of the annual senior prank tradition, but "it is in no way funny. It is not a prank."

"As a school team, we will discuss ways to help our students better understand the community in which we want to live."

The school's stadium and baseball field were also vandalized.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Kevin Weidner May 30, 9:09 p.m.
    user avatar

    I'm not sure I understand all of the racial connotations associated with a teddy bear in a santa suit with an empty bottle taped to its arm but I get it - folks are equating this to a lynching. I do hope that they investigate the issue and find the folks that did it and more specifically find out how they were able to access the roof. Might want to address that first before some nutjob decides to start a fire or somthing worse.

  • Chiqi Torres May 30, 2:39 p.m.
    user avatar

    Cowardly bullies love to hide and don't demonstrate their ignorance in public - since they want to fit in - very sad. The benefit is that all of the GOOD, SOLID, open-minded citizens are speaking out more strongly against acts by these weaklings.

  • Jason RE May 30, 1:31 p.m.
    user avatar

    WTVD calls it a black Santa doll while WRAL calls it a teddy bear.