Hillcrest High School in Greenville County, South Carolina, has suspended a long-barrel gun-toting student who proudly displayed a sign that read "We hang n*****s for free" in a Snapchat post.
Investigations began Monday after Greenville County Schools spokesperson Beth Brotherton said she became aware of the posting. Prior to interviewing the teen, some speculated that the image could have been altered.
Suspicions of the photo being doctored were quickly put to rest Wednesday after the Simpsonville Police Department, working in conjunction with Greenville officers, announced they had interviewed the teenager Tuesday.
Confirmation of the post and identification of the culprit, however, did not result in what many were expecting. According to Simpsonville Police Captain Cheryl Manley, no crime was committed, and there was not enough evidence available to determine if the threat was credible or if any students were in immediate danger.
"It goes against what people think is right, it goes against people's beliefs, and albeit inappropriate, it's not illegal because of freedom of speech," Manley said, local outlet 7 News reported Wednesday.
US News reports Hillcrest High School's student body is 24% black.
The school has taken action against the student, and she has been suspended and recommended for expulsion. Simpsonville police also claimed in a Wednesday statement that "extra personnel were placed at the school," although the teen did not appear in school after Monday.
Parents of students at Hillcrest feel as if not enough has been done to prevent potential danger.
"I think all of the parents, all of the teachers, everybody that's involved deserves answers about the situation, so to me it's really personal," parent Donti Lewis explained to 7 News.
In addition, some students have "doxxed" the teen, releasing her phone number and address for public consumption. One Hillcrest student told WYFF that many students have threatened to find and confront the suspended student.
In an effort to shift the message from hate to love, two students at the high school rallied their peers together and created "unity banner" to represent their "zero tolerance for discrimination and racism."
Simpsonville Police Department spokesman Justin Campbell reiterated Wednesday that the teen will not face charges and stressed how the community needs to "consider the criteria for criminal charges and bad behavior," but also noted that the department does not condone the image.
As for county police, the Greenville County Sheriff's Office and the Fountain Inn Police Department will conduct their own investigations, said Manley.