‘Alabama wind chime’: Missouri school sued over alleged lynching threats against Black children

Parents of children in a Missouri school district are outraged after a pattern of racism has been alleged.

"While her children were riding the school bus in Kearney last spring, mother Tiffaney Whitt said they were called the N-word by fellow students, who threatened to fight, kill and hang them from trees," The Kansas City Star reported Thursday. "The threats were reported to the school authorities, but no students were reprimanded, according to a federal lawsuit filed against the Kearney school district and school bus service this week. It’s the second lawsuit filed against the district in the past few months alleging a pattern of severe racial harassment and discrimination against Black students in the overwhelmingly white Clay County district — and a failure by school officials to stop it."

The mother explained the threats caused her to leave the town.

“My boys have never been called the (N-word) or threatened until we moved to Kearney. My family was attacked on the school bus and on the school premises from the time we moved in until the time we left,” Whitt said.

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“After constant incidents involving other students calling my children the (N-word) and threatening to kill them like ‘Emmitt Till’ and ‘hang them from a tree,’ it was time for us to go,” she explained. “We were terrified and had no one to turn to for help. No one should ever feel this way and no child should ever go to school and feel unsafe. Schools should provide safety and security for all children. Kearney School District has proven that they are not a place for ‘ALL’ students.”

The school district says it cannot comment on litigation.

In the first lawsuit, a former Black student received threatening messages that included “THIS IS A WHITE TOWN (N****) BOY" and “I hope I see your black ass in tree. Alabama wind chime style” along with “I hope you and your monkey family gets jumped by all the whites in Kearney."

Only 1% of the students in the school district are Black.

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Whitt's lawsuit accuses the district of “deliberately indifferent to the continuing racial harassment and racially hostile educational environment."

She says the district doesn't want change.

“I even joined the school’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee after several unresolved incidents involving racism with my children. I thought to myself, ‘I’m in the educational field, so I can help shed light and make things better.’ I was wrong,” Whitt said. “After the first meeting, I realized that these people didn’t want change. They were comfortable with the fact that they didn’t provide all students with an inclusive educational experience. It was like talking to a wall.”