Check Your Privilege: 7th Grader in Philly School Threatened For Being White
The graffiti on the Messina home reads “Snitch’n ass. Die cracker”, and it’s directed toward 12-year-old Joseph Messina, a 7th grade honors student at Mastery Charter Thomas Campus in Philadelphia. This comes on the heels of an alleged 6-on-1 attack that happened in the hallway of the school, in which the family says school officials are ignoring.
Joey’s mom and dad say their son was targeted because of his race. The family is white.
They have police reports documenting a 6-on-1 school hallway attack that happened three weeks ago.
“And then they all started coming in and punching my back, I was covering my face,” the younger Messina said.
The Messinas accuse staff at Mastery Charter Thomas Campus of looking the other way.
“They let them run that school. It’s a shame to say, they really do,” Margaux Messina said. “They don’t care about the gangs in there, they deny that when there really is.”
Philadelphia police now have detectives assigned to investigative the graffiti.
“In this specific case, the nature of what was said does lead us to believe there is a racial component because of a specific word that was used,” Capt. Sekou Kinebrew said in a brief interview.
Joey’s dad is at a loss in dealing with what has arrived at his doorstep.
“I want to go up to that school and confront the main people and how am I composing myself, I don’t even know. I’m ready to explode,” said Joe Messina.
In a statement obtained by CBS3, the school says, “Our job is to keep students safe. We have a zero-tolerance policy for bullying and investigate all allegations thoroughly and expeditiously. For all off-campus incidents, we defer to the police for appropriate follow-up.”
The school added Joe Messina, the father, “is no longer allowed on campus because of a pattern of behavior.” They declined to provide further details.
Joseph Messina woke up Wednesday morning, February 21, and came outside his South Philly home to find graffiti spray painted across the whole front wall.
“I feel really shocked and scared,” 12-year-old Joseph told FOX 29, “I’m just shocked that they know our address and that they did that.”
“I heard him scream. I didn’t know what happened,” said Margaux Messina, Joseph’s mother.
Margaux Messina quickly came outside. When she stepped out the front door, she saw the words “Snitchin and Die,” then a racial slur.
“To write the word die, that’s really, like, taking it far. It wasn’t just a racial comment. It was die,” Messina said.
South Detectives and Homeland Security are now investigating the incident as a possible hate crime. Police are also stationed at the school to prevent further incidents. City cleanup crews removed the graffiti on the Messina’s home.
“God forbid if they retaliate and start shooting at our house. We’re really concerned about that,” Messina said.
“I really hope that they lock them up. I really do,” Margaux said.