Four Charged in Racial Tension Case Surrounding Brevard High

BREVARD, N.C. -- Brevard High School students took to Main Street to call for change after a number of reported racial slurs and death threats targeted at black students.

Sophomore Aniyah Hemphill organized the event after racial tension ran high at the high school.

"I don't want to go back to school Monday and have all this racial stuff going on, you know. I just want to feel safe at my school," Hemphill said.

She and several of her friends and classmates waved signs and explained to passing people why they were there.

"I feel like I should be a part of this because everything that's happened so far and we should all be able to speak out," Haley Stewart said, Brevard freshman.

Problems began several weeks ago, but according to the district, nothing was severe enough to draw attention to it until parents said it was getting out of hand.

Sheriff David Mahoney said on Tuesday during school hours, white and black students went back and forth over name-calling.

It escalated until about a dozen students were involved, he said.

Eventually, one student was charged with disorderly conduct and ethnic intimidation.

Brevard Police Chief John Phillip Harris, Jr. says Tuesday night three male students went to a minority student's house and made threats to that person.

All three students aged 16, 16 and 20 were arrested.

The 20-year-old was charged with ethnic intimidation while the two 16-year-olds were charged with aiding and abetting with ethnic intimidation.

"No community deserves to have fear or threats so we're doing our best to track down those who are responsible and hold them accountable," Harris said.

Wednesday, there was an increased police presence on campus with school resource officers from other schools on hand to make sure nothing happened.

"Any concern is a concern. And any student who feels uncomfortable, we want to make sure that they do feel comfortable in the school setting regardless of what got them to that point, we want to try and work our hardest to try and make sure that they do feel safe and secure at school," said Jeremy Gibbs, Director of Human Resources for Transylvania County Schools.

Wednesday, he said there have been disciplinary actions taken and more may be enacted.

The students protesting Saturday want change.

"It's hurtful because it's 2015. It's not 1960 anymore," Hemphill said. "We shouldn't have to sit there and take that from other people just because of our skin color."

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