BONIFAY -- Word of rioting following racially charged words between a handful of now suspended high school students prompted school district officials Thursday evening to issue a statement on social media regarding plans to suppress the situation.
"Holmes County High School administration has been made aware that there may be students planning a riot/fight at school," the post stated. "School officials will be taking extra security measures and there will be additional law enforcement personnel on campus tomorrow and other days as needed."
By 9 a.m. Friday morning, Holmes District School Board (HDSB) Superintendent Terry Mears had visited the high school campus located at 825 U.S. Highway 90. Everything was usual -- learning was the only thing that was happening, he said.
"Learning is occurring, there is nothing happening at this campus at all," Mears said. "We have had the measures and security there as well. And we will continue to monitor the situation."
Law enforcement provided one or two officers on campus Friday, in addition to the one student resource office, to serve as deterrents to stifle the potential of actual conflict.
Although he did not go into details about the conflict, Mears said, "there were some racial terms that were used" and two students have been suspended.
"We're not going to belabor who's right, who's wrong," he said. "They all were wrong and we took appropriate action."
Further, Mears said parents have no reason to be alarmed about a discordant environment. He suggested that social media exacerbated the conflict, which, he believes, could've been instigated by national news on race relations.
Toward the general community, he said: "I'm calling on all of us to bind together during this time and realize there's going to be individuals that want to cause issues and cause a divisiveness in our community; but, we, as a community, cannot let those people trying to do this, to be successful."