Jackson Township police, school district officials investigating claim that two students were threatened Tuesday at Jackson Memorial Middle School.
JACKSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Police and school district officials are investigating allegations of a bullying incident involving a biracial student at Jackson Memorial Middle School.
According to reports, the student and a friend were surrounded by 10 boys who said they were “the wall,” and “this is MAGA country and that all black people should die.” According to a report filed with Jackson Township police, the confrontation made the child fearful.
Students involved attend sixth grade, according to a statement Jackson Local Schools issued. Officials are interviewing students who can provide information, Superintendent Chris DiLoreto said. “School safety continues to be a priority at Jackson Schools,” he said in a statement.
The incident occurred in the middle school’s cafeteria following lunch Tuesday, according to the police report filed late Tuesday.
Police Chief Mark Brink said his department’s detective bureau is working with school officials.
Brink said there is a video from the school cafeteria, recorded with school security equipment, that will be reviewed as part of the investigation. The police department’s school resources officer wasn’t in the cafeteria when the alleged incident occurred, he said.
The child’s mother posted on Facebook about the incident Tuesday night after talking to school officials and police. The Canton Repository is not reporting the mother’s name in an effort to protect the identity of her child.
The mother said her child attended Jackson schools for kindergarten and part of first grade and then returned to the district in third grade. The child has been bullied in the past but not to the extent that occurred Tuesday, the mother said.
School officials contacted the child’s mother Tuesday to let her know something had occurred but didn’t describe the incident, the mother said. She learned more details when the child returned from school, prompting the mother to call police.
The mother said she met with school officials Wednesday morning and watched the surveillance video. She believes the video shows the child is being truthful.
The mother — an Army veteran — said she is happy that officials are investigating but believes her decision to describe the confrontation in the Facebook post prompted officials to act more quickly.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the Facebook post had drawn more than 3,500 comments and had been shared more than 2,300 times.
Because the child’s race was mentioned during the incident, the mother said, she has contacted the FBI to report a hate crime and sought assistance from the NAACP.
The mother said the boys who bullied her child used the phrase “Trump country” multiple times as well as MAGA, the abbreviation for President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” The mother said her child was not familiar with the term MAGA.
The mother said she doesn’t believe the students fully understood what they were doing as they taunted her child with politically oriented phrases and references to Trump. But she believes children are affected after hearing and seeing media coverage of politics.
“We need to put our foot down and stop this because this bullying is getting out of control,” the child’s mother said.