The Mississippi chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is calling for the feds to probe an incident in which white high school students allegedly came up behind a black teen and pulled a noose tightly around his neck, the New York Times reports.
The 15-year-old wasn't harmed, but his parents brought the October 13 incident to local NAACP president Derrick Johnson after first going to the school administration and law enforcement.
"It's probably one of the hardest cases I'll ever handle in my career because of the nature of it," Captain Boggs, a black officer with the local sheriff's department whose own investigation is apparently ongoing, told the Times. "Have I ever had to deal with something like this? No, not from a high school."
Two additional complaints have since been made, according to the NAACP, one involving the same school—Stone High—in Wiggins, Mississippi. "Allowing students to commit blatant hate crimes without severe consequences sends a message to students that their safety and well-being are not valuable enough to be protected," the NAACP said in a statement.
While the alleged perpetrators have not been named, a lawyer from the school district did confirm to the Associated Press that one has been disciplined. Johnson told the Times that some of the students involved had participated in a school parade holding a Confederate flag in the past.
Johnson added that he plans to meet with the FBI on Wednesday to see if it can move forward with a hate-crime investigation. Meanwhile, the student is apparently still in school, despite what the NAACP president described as "emotional distress."