Wakefield High School investigates teddy bear, sign hanged from roof
Posted May 30
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.
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.