SALISBURY, Md. — Wicomico County officials are investigating after a high school student appeared in a video holding an apparent gun and making racist and threatening remarks targeting black people.
The video was shared among pupils at Parkside High School in Salisbury, where the suspect is a student.
The video, which was included in a story by WMDT ABC47shows the student holding what appears to be a gun and saying, “Shoot n****** for fun, you hear me?”
The suspect is also the son of a member of the Wicomico Board of Education, who is now facing calls to resign.
The Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office said he was brought to the attention of a school resource officer on June 14. The sheriff’s office determined the gun was a pellet gun and it was seized as part of the investigation. The sheriff’s office notes that it is continuing its investigation and that the student in the video “will not be at school for the remainder of the school year.”
The Wicomico County Democratic Central Committee posted on Facebook that it was asking Board of Education member Tonya Laird Lewis, whose son was featured in the video, to resign and not run for office.
Sarah Meyers, chair of the WCDCC, said in the statement: “Threats of racial violence, which Tonya Lewis’s son has done, should never be dismissed as humor or ‘bad decisions’. The use of a semi-automatic rifle in the video by a minor makes the video even more inexcusable. Such behavior is learned and usually learned at home first… Ms. Lewis’s silence on this matter is a dereliction of duty as a member of the Wicomico County School Board and downright dangerous.
Lewis did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.
Wicomico County Public Schools said in a statement:
Providing a safe and welcoming school environment for our students, staff and families is our top priority, today and every day of the school year. As we address a security issue regarding a student’s video this week, the Wicomico County Public School System assures our school system community and the community at large that we are taking this matter very seriously. .
On Tuesday, the administration of Parkside High School was made aware of a deeply concerning video apparently created by a Parkside student which shows a gun-toting teenager uttering a violent racist statement. The video had been shared among the students, and word about it was spreading on social media. Due to the content of the video, many people from this school community and beyond have contacted us with questions and concerns.
Please be aware that this video does not in any way reflect the sentiments or teachings of the student’s school or the Wicomico County Public Schools. Like those who contacted us about the video, we are shocked and appalled by both the language and the visual content of this video.
While we are unable to comment on any specific student due to federal privacy rules and cannot speak to an ongoing investigation, please be aware that an investigation into this video and the student involved has been immediately initiated by the school administration and Safe Schools staff and is ongoing. Our school system is working with law enforcement to fully investigate this matter, which will also be handled in accordance with the Code of Conduct.
We thank those who shared their concerns about the video with the student’s school administrators so that this issue can be resolved quickly. Supporting safety in our schools and community is a priority for all of us, and it’s important for everyone to speak up if they see or hear anything of concern.