PRINCETON – The Johnston County NAACP and African American Caucus of the Johnston County Democratic Party said Tuesday they are closely monitor an incident involving students at Princeton High School.
A video obtained by ABC 11 reportedly shows at least four white students waiving Trump 2024 and Blue Lives Matter flags in the school gymnasium. Student Brooklyn Edwards told ABC 11 she has been called racial slurs and tensions are high between white and black students at the school.
“[I’ve been] called the N-word … a monkey, told to pick cotton,” the 15 year-old student alleges. She claims school staff failed to respond or intervene.
The Johnston County NAACP and African American Caucus of the Johnston County Democratic Party today called on the Johnston County Public Schools administration to conduct a thorough investigation into the Princeton High incident and to ensure accountability for any students who may have been involved in the alleged bullying as well as for any staff who failed to respond appropriately.
The organizations also are seeking to be part of a meaningful review of Johnston County Public Schools’ policies relating to racism and bullying.
“Black students are too often the victims of racial bullying that is ignored or handled improperly,” said Dr. Gettys Cohen, president of NAACP-Johnston County Branch. “The experiences are numerous and deserve attention. Black students who react to bullying are oftentimes the ones who suffer the consequences.”
“The school system administration’s effort is lacking and its follow-through at times has been lacking when it comes to initiators being disciplined,” said Angelique Legette, president of the African American Caucus of the Johnston County Democratic Party.
According to a joint news release today, the NAACP and African American Caucus stated, “Johnston County’s long history of racism, inequality, and injustice against Black people continues in law, policy, and practice. In June, the Board of Commissioners withheld funds from Johnston County Public Schools until it approved a policy that limited how racism and our nation’s history are taught in classrooms.”
“The recent demagoguery and ginning up of a fake controversy that stokes racial divisions are contributing to the animosity experienced by Black students,” Legette said.
“Johnston County is changing, and Black and other minority children should be able to attend school without the fear of racist bullying so that they can focus on their education,” Legette said. “Students must also have confidence that school administrators will establish and enforce policies to include and protect them.”
“Johnston County Public Schools must stand up for its students and immediately institute and enforce a zero-tolerance policy for racism, discrimination, and harassment,” Dr. Cohen said.
JCPS released a statement about the incident saying, “Johnston County Public Schools is aware of a video circulating on social media that was taken inside of Princeton High School. While we can not and will not comment on specific events regarding student discipline, it is important for our community to know that we do not take any bullying or harassment incidents lightly. It is important to both our Superintendent and all JCPS staff to foster a climate that includes respect for others. We appreciate our staff and community partners working together to ensure that our schools are a welcoming and harmonious place for all.”