HEBRON, Conn. (WTNH) – Hebron neighbors got together Saturday morning for a rally in response to a disturbing incident last month.
A staff member at RHAM high school found a noose hanging in the boy’s locker room.
At the intersection of routes 66 and 85, neighbors showed their signs to cars passing by. They want to make their message clear: there is no room for hate in the town of Hebron.
“This is not something that defines who our community is, and it will not be tolerated,” said Donna Jolly, the vice president for the Coalition of Diversity and Equity. “We feel as though if we don’t say something, it can just go by, and perhaps someone will feel empowered to do something like that again.”
Police arrested a 17-year-old student five days after the incident. Officials believed it could be a potential hate crime but after their investigation, state police did not charge him with one.
The teen was charged with placing a noose on the property and breach of peace. The local NAACP chapter says more needs to be done.
“A noose is a message. It’s a weapon of hate, bigotry,” said Rodney Alexander Jr., the first vice president of the Windham/Willimantic NAACP chapter. “In order to end hate, we need to implement various accountability acts throughout Northeast Connecticut and Connecticut as a whole. This started with racism and until racism is actually addressed, how is anything going to change?”
The Coalition of Diversity and Equity, which serves Hebron and surrounding towns, said they are working with the superintendent to develop programs that would educate students about diversity and equality.