NAACP Calling for More Serious Charges for Teen Accused of Hanging a Noose

NAACP says charges are too lenient and send the wrong message. Seeking more serious hate crime related charges.

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The Windham/Willimantic NAACP chapter is not happy with the way the state is treating a case of a noose being found in a Hebron high school.

Last week a 17-year-old RHAM student was arrested, but the NAACP thinks the charges he faces are not enough.

On Tuesday, that teenager was expected in court, but because he is under 18 all records are sealed, including the arrest warrant.

Protesting what it considers lenient charges against a 17-year-old accused of hanging a noose in RHAM locker room, the NAACP said the incident is symbolic of brutality toward African Americans.

“It’s a reminder of America’s dark history of racial violence,” said Windham and Willimantic NAACP Vice President, Rodney Alexander Jr.

The teen was arrested last week and now faces charges that include placing a noose on public property and breach of peace - charges the NAACP said that are not sending the right message.

“What lessons are we teaching our children, that they feel that this behavior is acceptable? We are here to tell you, it’s not,” said chapter president, Leah Ralls.

The NAACP points to a state statute 46a-58, which specifically addresses placing a noose on public property. Violations carry a minimum $1,000 fine. However, they are pushing for more serious, hate crime related charges.

“If this was a swastika on the gym wall people would be screaming from the top of their lungs, 'hate crimes,'" said Alexander.

District 8 superintendent Colin McNamara sent a letter to the school community on Nov. 18 that read in part: “Words or actions spreading racism, discrimination, or hateful ideologies will not be tolerated in our schools.”

It is currently unclear how this student is being disciplined at school. Meanwhile, the NAACP is not satisfied with how this is being handled.

“I don’t want to wait until a Black kid is hanging from the gym,” said Ralls.

The NAACP said it has had conversations with the state’s Division of Criminal Justice but has been frustrated with the way those conversations have gone. NBC Connecticut reached out to the state’s attorneys’ office and to the District 8 superintendent for reaction but have not received a response yet.

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