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Brevard student says he was threatened with noose

Quenton Sample-French, a 17-year-old African-American Brevard High School student, has decided to go public with his story of racism and hate at the school. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Quenton Sample-French, a 17-year-old African-American Brevard High School student, has decided to go public with his allegations of racism and hate at the school.

“I want this to stop,” Sample-French said Friday. “This is not OK. It’s getting unbearable to stay at that school.”

On May 18, he sid, a classmate threatened to hang him with a noose and referred to him with a racial slur.

“It was after school and I was walking home and he called me over to his truck. He called me the n-word. I started walking home, and he said, 'I have a noose for you right now.'”

Court records confirm the altercation his mother said she saw in surveillance video from the back parking lot of Brevard High.

“You see the defendant get out of his truck, and the next thing you see is him swinging the noose,” Rose Sample said.

Sample said she then saw the 16-year-old male student start swinging the noose, and then jut his hand out and swing it toward her son.

Her son said the suspect, who is charged with three misdemeanors, simple assault, communicating threats and ethnic intimidation, also pulled a pocket knife on him.

Sheriff David Mahoney said investigators could not find corroborating evidence that a knife was pulled on Sample-French.

According to court papers, the teen stated to Sample-French, “N- - - - r, I am going to hang you.”

News 13 is not naming the teen who has been charged because he is a minor. The sheriff said he has charged the teen to the fullest extent of North Carolina law, but racial hate crimes in the state do not carry a felony charge.

Meanwhile, Sample-French said the incident was not the first time he had been called a racial slur at Brevard High School.

“I can’t count how many people I hear, basically every day, at that school that say the n-word,” said Sample-French, who thinks more conversations with students about race-relations should take place at the school, given its history.

“I think the school doesn't care. I feel they don’t care about what's said at the school. Otherwise, this wouldn't keep happening.”

In 2015, Brevard police arrested three Brevard High School students amid allegations they were involved in racial incidents involving slurs and intimidation.

The school superintendent, in an emailed response, said the 2015 case was off school grounds, unlike the latest case.

Transylvania County superintendent Jeff McDaris issued the following statement in response to allegations of racially charged incidents involving white students toward African-Americans at Brevard High.

"I am not aware of any 'ongoing' racism problems specific only to our schools. Society at large across our nation continues to struggle with this. We recognize that, and are continuing to do our part here. There was an incident over a year ago involving some students outside of school day (and also involving a person who was not a student). This led to the start of a great program with the help of some wonderful individuals with the US Department of Justice. It is ongoing. There are also exciting things already happening and beginning to happen more in our county through partnerships and discussions between community leaders. There is a recent event that happened about two weeks ago after school between two students. I assume WLOS may be referring to this incident.
"Legally, what we can discuss with any representatives concerning this incident is very limited because any actions regarding a student are confidential under FERPA. That sometimes places schools and school systems in a difficult position and individuals may not be satisfied when school officials say they can’t discuss it. Unfortunately, that does not make an exception to FERPA.
"I can share that the matter was immediately investigated by school officials and appropriately handled. We also have heard that charges were filed. We are monitoring the situation and will act accordingly should future action need to be addressed resulting from court or law enforcement action. Depending on what happens over the summer with a student’s legal situation, there may still be ramifications to their actions."

Sample-French’s mother, meanwhile, thinks the school needs to do more. She said the principal told her the student had been expelled for 2017, but, depending on the outcome of the criminal misdemeanor cases, the principal said it was unclear if the student would return to school in the fall.

“It hurts,” Sample said. “It hurts that my son has to go through this.”

She thinks the case should be charged as a more serious crime and believes her son when he says the student pulled a pocket knife on him.

“He had a noose, that does not corroborate as a weapon? He introduced it as a weapon ‘Come here, I’m gonna hang you. You're not going to hang someone with a word.”

Transylvania County Sheriff David Mahoney was out of town Friday but gave the following statement:

"This type of behavior is wrong, and we are going to stand with our community to make sure everyone knows that behavior like this will not be tolerated. My office will always investigate any allegations, and pursue charges to the fullest extent that North Carolina law will allow us."

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