“I’m going nigger hunting.”
So read a recent Snapchat photo caption featuring a Yerington teenager with a rifle, a pistol and a knife. The coverup now goes all the way up to the Lyon County Sheriff’s office which shredded three reports about threats and harassment at Yerington High School. The FBI advised the Reno-Sparks NAACP to refer that issue to Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt.
In the Sparks sphere of influence, cops last week busted a kid who made threats to shoot up Shaw Middle School in Spanish Springs.
What else is new? The Washoe County School District ignored NAACP complaints of overt racism at Shaw in 2012.
A year later, Shaw, led by Principal Gina Leonhard, received “a top five-star ranking in the Washoe County School District’s Performance Framework. The jump was the biggest in the district among non-elementary schools.” (Tribune 9-26-2013)
In a Oct. 12, 2012 letter to Principal Leonhard, with copies to Superintendent Pedro Martinez and the board of trustees, Reno-Sparks NAACP President-Elect Jeffrey Blanck wrote that “a black female seventh grade student was subject to numerous racial epithets and repeatedly called a ‘nigger.’ “
Her parents “reported this to the school a minimum of five times. The racial epithets led to (the student) being involved in a fight with one of the students who called her a ‘nigger.’ (The black student) was suspended but the girl spewing the racial epithets was not. Apparently the students who have called her a ‘nigger’ have had no discipline whatever and the situation is only escalating…(She was) spat upon by another student who was spewing racial epithets.”
Blanck added that the girl was threatened with an organized beating, causing her mother to escort her to school. A huge swastika was painted on the street near the family home.
Signs of “KKK” were flashed at the girl. Complaints to the school were ignored, Blanck wrote. The girl’s parents removed her from Shaw. Another African-American girl also left.
“The were told by an assistant principal that everything the school can do has been done,” Blanck noted, adding that other incidents led to black student suspensions while the perps walked.
The district response was basically “how dare you?”
Their defense: They’ve had anti-bullying student “enrichment time” and shown movies. So please go away.
“It is apparent from the pre-disposed, accusatory tone of your letter, your uninformed and unfounded allegations, the recipients on your cc list, and the absence of this office (thereon), that you are not interested in promoting peace and tranquility among the students at YSMS,” responded WCSD lawyer Christopher Reich.
“Stopping the hurtful words has been the focus and will continue to be,” he concluded. He didn’t mention stopping the hurtful spitting. Similar incidents were reported at Spanish Springs High at the time.
Yerington may have an excuse. Perhaps pollution from the old Anaconda copper pit poisoned the minds of its children.
And maybe their parents. The father of the Snapchat kid with the guns is a former Yerington police officer and now a local athletic coach. Yerington High suspended the kid who posted the photo. That student’s father is an active Lyon County Deputy Sheriff.
BLAME THE VICTIMS. The father of two harassed black girls has been threatened with trespassing charges if he shows up at the Yerington HS campus.
At last week’s annual NAACP Community Policing Forum, four-time former Branch President Lonnie Feemster asked the wall of cops in attendance “when’s the last time you did a t-shirt check?”
He noted that police in other jurisdictions have found sworn officers wearing racist, neo-Nazi and Klan t’s under their uniforms. One killed a black man while on duty. None of the four departments represented, including the Reno and Sparks chiefs, offered a reply. (Washoe County Sheriff Chuck E. Cheese played hooky, perhaps due to last year’s questioning.)
Multiple students are reportedly involved in racial threats and harassment in old Pizen Switch, the original name for Yerington that perhaps should have been retained. Nevada was once nicknamed “Mississippi West,” a pejorative which, sadly, often still applies.
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 49-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and SenJoeNeal.org/ He serves as first vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. E-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org> Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.