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UPDATE: Bledsoe Co. authorities investigating Facebook post of noose following fight at school

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BLEDSOE COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: Bledsoe County authorities said they are investigating a Facebook post that shows a noose in a tree outside a home. The woman who reported it said it was posted to intimidate her family after her bi-racial daughter hit another student at school for using racial slurs against her.

We've been trying to reach Bledsoe County Sheriff Jimmy Morris for days about the Facebook picture. When we spoke to him Friday he was unaware of the picture. Later in the day, he told us the department did take a report on the topic, but that report will not be released.

A Facebook post shows a noose hanging from a tree. A woman shared it on her public profile, writing "we have the best yard decor". The profile was later deleted after the picture was reported to authorities. “That is disgusting to me, If that is not a hate crime, I don't know what is,” said Misty Adams.

Misty Adams believes the post was directed toward her family. Her daughter was suspended from school for a year and charged with assault for hitting another student. Adams said her daughter hit the student because the student called her a racial slur. The woman who posted the photo is the mother of the child Misty's daughter hit. “If someone is verbally abusing you and bullying you I believe you can only take so much. If you ask for help and nobody helped you, what is left for you to do?”

Channel 3 reached out to the woman who posted the photo and visited the home where the photo was taken. One man who would not tell us his name told us it's all a misunderstanding. “Why was a noose hung up on a tree?” asked a Channel 3 reporter.  The driver said, “They have had that forever. It wasn't a noose for that. They hang deer and everything on it.”

Adams said she tried to report the picture to the Bledsoe County Sheriff's Office. She said she was told an officer would follow up, but she never heard back.

Sheriff Jimmy Morris said a deputy did take a report, but that report is not available. “Still under investigation. Do not know if there will be any additional arrest made or not,” said Bledsoe County Sheriff Jimmy Morris.

Sheriff Morris said his office has handed over their report to District Attorney Mike Taylor so he can determine if there was any wrong doing. Taylor was aware of the situation, but said he has not received anything from the sheriff's office to formally investigate.

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.  


ORIGINAL STORY: A Bledsoe County mother says her daughter was suspended from school for hitting another student who called her a racial slur.

The mom, Misty Adams, says her daughter has endured years of harassment and the school system is ignoring her complaints.

Adams says she's desperate for change and that's why she allowed her daughter, who is bi-racial, to speak with us.

“If you walk down the hallway they just holler like “N,” there goes that “N,” teachers look in they don't say anything,” said Teaira Adams, student who is suspended.

Seventeen-year-old Teaira Adams says she is routinely called names at Bledsoe County High School. 

The same names she says students called her brother before he dropped out.

“He would always tell me and my sister to try to stay strong,” said Adams. He said no matter what anyone says about you you're no different than anyone.  We all bleed red.”

Teaira says she reached her limit last week when a girl used a racial slur against her.

“She said that I was a dumb "A" "N". I guess she didn't like me and it went from there,” said Adams.

A student sent cell phone video to Channel 3 concerned about name calling in the school.

In the video, you can see Teaira respond by hitting the girl repeatedly.

“It made me upset because, no matter how much I try to talk to the principal or the guidance counselors, they never do anything and they always say they will take care of it,” said Adams.

Teaira was suspended from school for a year and the sheriff's office charged her with assault.

Teaira's mom says it's the third time this year Teaira has been in trouble at school for defending herself.

“If someone is verbally abusing you and bullying you, I believe you can only take so much,” said Misty Adams, mother of Teaira. “If you ask for help and nobody helped you, what is left for you to do?”

Channel 3 reached out to Director of Schools Jennifer Terry to ask if harassment complaints are on file, if students have been disciplined for using racial slurs, and if steps are being taken to stop their use.

Terry referred us to the student handbook, which states, “Students who feel they are being discriminated against because of their race should talk to a teacher.”

Adams says her daughter has done that. She says the culture extends outside the classroom.

Shortly after the incident, a parent of the student Teaira says used the slur posted a photo on Facebook.

“She posted a noose hanging from a tree,” said Misty Adams. “That's disgusting and if that's not hate crime I don't know what is.”

The parent has since deleted her Facebook page and has not responded to Channel 3's attempts to reach her.

Adams says she reported the incident to the Bledsoe County Sheriff's Office and plans to file a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union.

“It breaks my heart that people, they're grown people teach their children to hate people,” said Adams.

Channel 3 tried multiple times to reach Bledsoe County Sheriff Jimmy Morris to see if his office received Misty Adams' report and is investigating.

Our calls have not been returned.

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.  

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David Carroll covers education news and issues at schools across the Tennessee Valley.

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