We all must say, ‘Not in our state’

A sheriff’s cruiser is stationed outside Stone High School on Tuesday.
A sheriff’s cruiser is stationed outside Stone High School on Tuesday. jvicory@sunherald.com

This is Mississippi in 2016. And it is sad.

We should not have to tell our children it is wrong, wrong, wrong to accost another child with a noose. And yet we have to.

Because it happened at Stone High School.

And that means somewhere, somehow, the school and community have failed.

A black child this very month had a noose put around his neck. That tells us one of two things about the community.

Either it has failed to educate its children about our state’s inglorious past or it has allowed the hate born in that past to fester and live on today. Neither is acceptable.

We as Mississippians must take a stand. And it must be a stand of unity, not divisiveness. We, black and white, must say this will not be tolerated.

So far, the community’s response is troubling.

There should be a universal outpouring of support for the child.

Stone High football coach John Feaster said he and the team have shown the victim he is loved. And we heartily commend him.

But where does the rest of the community stand? The family said it has gotten little if any cooperation from school officials and law enforcement. In fact, it says someone in law enforcement cautioned them not to file a complaint or they’d risk retaliation.

Officials should be supporting that family, that teenage boy. Where is their love?

A caller from Charlotte, North Carolina, wondered the same thing. She wondered where she could send a message of love and support. The school couldn’t help her. Neither could the Sheriff’s Office.

We suggest posting those messages on the Stone High Facebook page. Or sending them straight to the school: 400 E. Border Ave., Wiggins MS 39577.

Or taking them there in person.

Every message of love and healing would help.

And Wiggins has a choice. It is clear Wiggins is divided. At a press conference Monday, only two white people were among the crowd supporting the family. That must change.

This could be the moment healing begins. Healing for the family that was wronged. Healing the hatred that divides the community. Healing the culprit.

Wiggins has a choice.

It can be the place mired in the past. Or it can become the place remembered for conquering hate.

All it takes is one person to lead it to the right choice.

The editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own.