Students at West Chester East High School in Chester County were on high alert on September 11 after death threats and racial slurs aimed at freshmen were posted on social media.
“I feel bad for ya’ll,” a teen posted on a now-deleted Instagram account Sunday night. “Because ya’ll think it’s a joke. Each and everyone on sic those n****** will be killed tomorrow.”
Other posts from the account threatened specific students, the majority of them black or Hispanic, and included racial slurs.
“Even though people posted pictures of individuals and singled them out, we were all a victim in some kind of way because we are all minorities,” said Quincy Griffin, a senior at East High.
West Goshen Police announced they found the student responsible for the threats. They say the teen is a 14-year-old black male. He will be charged with terroristic threats, harassment and cyber harassment of a child.
West Chester Area School District Superintendent Dr. Jim Scanlon alerted parents of the threats, which he said were tied to other threats made at other schools, including Central Bucks West in Doylestown, on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
“I want to reiterate to all of our students that any student engaging in this kind of behavior will face disciplinary action from our school district, in addition to any action taken by police,” Scanlon wrote.
While police believed the school was safe, extra officers still patrolled the campus Monday.
“We’re all just trying to learn,” said Tianna Jones, one of the targeted students. “We’re all just trying to have a good time, but we can’t because we’re worried we’re going to get shot in the hallways.”
No violent incidents were reported though many students were on edge, with some leaving early.
“I was just there for first period,” Sael Rivera, a freshman at East High, told NBC10. “My mom came to pick me up because she was scared.”
Dayna Spence, the mother of one of the targeted students, organized a meeting for students and parents in the high school’s auditorium Monday night. More than 100 people attended to discuss the incident and what needed to be done to bring about change.
“I believe that the school district has a huge problem that they’re not willing to acknowledge,” she said. “They have their head in the sand.”