Noose incident leaves Wakefield HS black students feeling 'hurt and sad'

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Black students were hurt and sad after the noose incident at the school.

By Wednesday afternoon, outraged students and parents at Wakefield High School learned the school had identified the 4 students who hung a noose from the school's roof. But hours before, Wakefield's Black Student Union was holding an emergency meeting to give outraged students a chance to vent about the racially-charged incident and a chance to start healing.

"The vibe I got from everyone was more like hurt and sad," said Lauren Howell, president of the club, describing the meeting's mood.

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"A lot of people were saying how they want the people that did it to be punished and wanting Mr. Bazzell to be a part of that," club Vice-President India Card added.

Wakefield High School Principal Malik Bazzell did attend the meeting.

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The black teddy bear hung by a noose on the side of the school Tuesday morning was seen by many as a way to symbolize some students' resentment over Bazzell, who is African-American, taking a harder line on school rules since taking over as principal in 2015 from Wakefield's previous principal, Tripp Crayton, who is white.

Citing privacy rules, Wake County Public Schools is not sharing what the discipline will be for the four students involved in the incident that some are calling a hate crime.



"Since (the students) are seniors, I would like to personally see their colleges know about what they did over the last couple of days of school," Card said about the impending punishments.

RELATED: 4 students ID'd in Wakefield High School noose incident

Community advocate Craston Artis attended the Black Student Union meeting as well.

"You could tell students were hurt, they were frustrated, they were angry," Artis said.

As leader of the Community Equity Leadership Team, Artis is working closely with the school system to implement its newly-revised racial equity program. The district's Office of Equity Affairs is set to receive a half-million dollar boost in next year's budget, if Wake County commissioners sign off on the extra money.

"I'm not saying other (budget items) aren't important," Artis said. "But, clearly from Tuesday's incident and the incidents that have happened before, it needs to be on the plate, right now."

While the school system decides on punishments for the students in private; what could become more public are any criminal charges.

Wakefield High's school resource officer is still investigating whether to file charges for burglary, trespassing, and damage to property.

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