WOODSBORO, Texas — The Woodsboro Independent School District has acknowledged a Halloween night activity where some Woodsboro High School students allegedly dressed in clothing associated with a widely known racial hate group to antagonize a classmate.
Local attorney Matt Manning organized a press conference to address the situation he describes as "the heinous, inexcusable, disgusting tasing of a Black teenager by young men dressed as members of the Klu Klux Klan or KKK." The local NAACP described the act as a "hate crime."
That press conference is scheduled at 9 a.m. Tuesday and will be streamed in this article.
NAACP President Jeremy Lane Coleman said they consider this incident this a hate crime.
Matt Manning is the attorney for the victim he claims three teens dressed up as members of the KKK and tased his client. Manning said he does not know the race of those dressed up but said those responsible are believed to be on the Woodsboro High School football team.
Manning said there are many as six victims, all minors. They range in age and it's to Manning's understanding those five other victims weren't tased but might have been terrorized or chased with a taser.
“For you to dress up as a Klansmen you have a specific intent of terrorizing," Manning said. "That's not an accident. That's not kids being kids that's not boys being boys, that's not hazing or high school high jinx.
"High school high jinks are egging somebody's house, not dressing up as a Klansmen and tasing them."
In a Facebook post from Woodsboro Superintendent Ronald D. Segers Jr., the event did not occur at a school or school-sponsored activity.
Because of that, Segers says the district can't punish students who were involved.
"While we are deeply disappointed that any of our students might find this type of behavior acceptable, the district cannot discipline students for this type of conduct when it occurs off-campus," his release said.
The Woodsboro district will continue to cooperate with law enforcement during its criminal investigation and will re-evaluate the situation if additional facts are discovered that bring the conduct within the jurisdiction of the WISD Student Code of Conduct.
Segers said that federal law prevents it from releasing any specific information about specific students involved or the district's actions in regards to the allegations.
Woodsboro ISD counselors will be available for guidance with students who might have been impacted by the incident.
Segers says the district will continue to "strictly enforce" its anti-discrimination policy to the fullest extent permitted by law and its Student Code of Conduct.