As a West Virginia high school basketball player prepared to take on a rival team, he walked into the guest locker room at Wyoming East High only to find a drawing of a stick figure hanging from a noose bearing his name.
According to CNN, Jace Colucci, the only Black student on the Westside High School team, discovered the image on the board in the locker room. It was a stick figure, with its face colored and hanging from a noose. His name, “Jace” was next to it, with an arrow pointing from his name back to the figure.
Now the Wyoming County Schools’ district has turned the investigation over to the authorities, with Wyoming County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Cochrane saying that the incident could be a possible hate crime, according to WVVA.
“We’ll take it very seriously. If it meets that criteria, we’ll definitely jump on that. But right now it’s too early to speculate,” he told the news station.
Erica Colucci Ayers, Jace’s mother, feels like education officials failed her son, noting that this was not the first time Jace has been targeted.
Last year, prior to another Wyoming East – Westside game, a Snapchat video was forwarded to her, show kids chanting “hang Jace.”
Ayers said that school board officials said the students behind the incident had been punished, but now, she’s once again seeking justice for her son, with her lawyer investigating all possible options under federal and state law.
“They crossed the line with the noose,” Ayers told CNN. “That is a threat on his life. It is a hate crime. They took the time to color the face in on the stick figure.”