Claims of racism cause parents to march in Coatesville

- A picture of pumpkins with offensive carvings have people in Coatesville angry.

Some parents were keeping their kids home from school after they saw the picture, after what they call a series of racist incidents. Some even marched to the school campus in Coatsville in protest.

Protestors shouted to motorists at noon not far from the school grounds.

They wanted them to know racial incidents both in and outside the school, “…were no prank.”

Shyheem Perry is a 17-year-old junior whose dad kept him home from Coatesville High.

“It was disgusting. It was a little black girl hung. It was unbearable,” Shyheem explained.

Fox 29 is not showing what the school district says was a black baby doll hanging from the ceiling in the high school locker room.

School officials claim it was placed there by a member of the Coatesville High Cross Country team.

Later, images appeared online of pumpkins carved with the “KKK” and swastikas with what look to be students in the background.

James King is Shyheem’s father. He stated, “I kept him [Shyheem] home because I’m worried about him. Worried somebody may do something to him. Try something. He’ll fight back and be a victim,”

The small protest group marched to school grounds where they were met by some 200 students in a loud but orderly protest.

Student Shania Martinez said, “People died for this. We lost family, we lost friends to racism. To call it a prank…it’s far from a prank.”

While some parents believe administrators have failed to act quickly, district officials say they’re meeting with students to talk about race and investigating the doll incident.

“Racism will not define us. We will continue to spend every day educating kids, teachers and the community to be tolerant of the differences we value,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Cathy Taschner.

The District says it has asked local police to determine whether this was a hate crime.

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