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Teacher allegedly told student to 'toughen up' over racist Snapchat messages

Zachary Hansen, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in News & Features

ATLANTA -- A Forsyth County, Ga., middle school teacher is under investigation after allegedly telling a student who received racist Snapchat messages to "toughen up."

Forsyth County Schools confirmed to AJC.com that the Vickery Creek Middle School teacher has not returned to class since Friday.

The student was allegedly telling the teacher about dozens of racist messages she received in a group chat that eventually led to 11 students being disciplined and two being charged.

The mother of a 13-year-old multiracial girl told Channel 2 Action News that her daughter reported the group chat to the teacher to inform her about the situation. The messages included references to lynching, slavery and several racial epithets. The mother asked Channel 2 to remain anonymous.

"I'm very uncomfortable here because they told me they were going to hang me. They said they were going to whip me like a slave to death, and they told me to kill myself," the daughter reportedly told her teacher.

The teacher responded by saying, "You know these boys aren't going to hang you. You really should toughen up," the mother told the news station.

 

School district spokeswoman Jennifer Caracciolo told Channel 2 that the teacher "made a very inappropriate comment" to the student, prompting the personnel investigation.

The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office is assisting in the investigation. Two students have been charged with terroristic threats, sheriff's office Cpl. Doug Rainwater told Channel 2. He said they threatened physical harm to other students, with one using the word "shooting."

"Once you use that word, we're going to come to your house and make sure you have no means of actually doing something like that," Rainwater said.

Attorney Thomas Reynolds, who represents the 13-year-old girl's mother in addition to another family involved in this investigation, previously told the news station that the messages included more than 60 uses of the n-word in addition to other obscenities. Channel 2 reported that nearly 40 kids were included in the Snapchat group, including several Vickery Creek students.

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