MINOOKA, Ill. — A mother at a southwest suburban high school said her son was the victim of a hate crime after a student threatened to lynch him.
Tesaxton Washington said her son, a senior at Minooka High School, was in class when he reached for a cookie that a student brought in. She said that student told her son, "If you touch my cookie, I will lynch you." Washington said this same student has called her son the N-word before. She said the teacher was out of the room when the incident happened.
School administrators were made aware of the incident that same day. Multiple students called into an anonymous tip line at school to report the comment.
Washington met with a dean and assistant principal and told them she wanted the student in question expelled.
She said the next day, she was informed that the student would only be suspended for 10 days, and that the school resource officer had not contacted the police department and that she would have to do that herself.
The family's attorney, Canon Lambert, said "If you don't call this what it is, you can never fix it."
"This is a hate crime," he said.
Lambert said there are specific legal steps school staff members failed to take.
"The school resource officer should have taken this and presented it to the police department so a report was generated and thereafter the state's attorney could look at it and determine whether a charge should be brought," he said. "That didn't happen."
The school district issued a statement saying, "MCHS encourages any, and all, students who feel harassed or threatened during school or during school activities to report the incident to administration, teachers, counselors, or deans to the matter can be dealt with swiftly and appropriately."
"When someone tells you they are going to lynch you, that means 'I'm going to kill you,'" Washington said. "So therefore, I am afraid for my son's safety."
When asked why there wasn't a police report filed and passed along to the state's attorney's office for review, the school district said they had no further comment.
The student accused in this incident is set to return to school in a few days.