NAACP: Hostile Environment At Hannibal (Missouri) Middle and High Schools

Judy Hartnett's picture
Thursday, December 1, 2011

Office for Civil Rights to investigate charges.

Last week, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) with the U.S. Department of Education notified the Hannibal NAACP Chapter and the Hannibal school district that it will investigate complaints that the school district allows a racially hostile environment to exist at Hannibal High School and Hannibal Middle School.

At the heart of the issue is a racially-charged fight that took place earlier this fall off the school campus.

“The kids came back to school talking about it,” Superintendent Jill Janes said. “We kept it from getting any worse. We don’t tolerate racial harassment; we sent a clear message to our students.”

Police were called to the scene of the fight. Annie Dixon, president of the Hannibal NAACP chapter, said that two black teens were taken into custody. “The (black) kids are not taking any crap,” Dixon said. “Now they’re in court trying to defend themselves against this crap. (I’m trying to) make sure we don’t have another Columbine.”

Dixon said the prevailing attitude among students of color who she has talked to in the school district is that it doesn’t do any good to report incidents, because no action will be taken by the school district personnel. “So (the students) suffer in silence,” she said.

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