WIGGINS, MS (WLOX) - Sadness and surprise are among the reactions of Wiggins residents to a story about an incident at Stone High School that's making national headlines. A student or students allegedly placed a noose around the neck of an African-American classmate. Now, the Mississippi NAACP is calling for a federal probe into what it considers a hate crime.
The ugly incident and reaction it is stirring prompted Mandy Reeves to appeal to a higher power. She said, "God put it on my heart that we need to pray about this."
That's why she's quickly organizing a public prayer rally at 5:30 Wednesday afternoon in Blaylock Park.
"We need our community to respond with love," said Reeves.
A prayer event in July attracted several hundred people, as they prayed for racial reconciliation in the wake of police shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge.
"This isn't the type of news I like to see from my hometown," Jennifer Barclay told WLOX News Now.
Barclay graduated from Stone High in 1995 and is home for a visit. From what she's heard, the incident may have been a prank among friends. However, she added, that's the kind of thing you would never joke about.
Paul Dedeaux first heard about the incident on Facebook. He said if it did happen, that's "very sad." He said the news coverage fallout could be damaging to the community. He graduated from Stone High in 2007.
Dedeaux, who is white, said, "I've got plenty of black friends. But I don't think of color. They're just friends."
A middle-aged African American, who did not wish to go on camera, said he believes ignorance is at the heart of the incident. He said if it was a prank, that simply shows ignorance on both sides of those involved.