- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 25, 2015

BREVARD, N.C. (AP) - A series of racial incidents on and off campus has left three Brevard High School students suspended, two facing criminal charges, and two men arrested, authorities in Transylvania County say.

Officials said it began when a few students got into an argument at the school last week, and that led to a larger exchange among nearly a dozen students.

Two of the suspended students were implicated in the on-campus incident. The third was involved in an off-campus incident.

Transylvania County Schools spokesman Kevin Smith says a fourth student faces disciplinary action, The Asheville Citizen-Times reports (https://avlne.ws/1IgZqSi).

Sheriff David Mahoney said the arrested teen, who is 15, was charged with ethnic intimidation and disorderly conduct. Mahoney said the charge resulted from a threatening comment.

The student who was charged is white. The other student is black.

In addition to the on-campus incident, Brevard police filed additional charges following an off-campus incident later that night. They said three men apparently went looking for the black student who was involved in the initial incident at school and went to the wrong home.

Detective Lt. Steve Woodson with the Brevard Police Department said the three walked around the house and were yelling and making threats.

Christoper Michael Blackburn, 20, was charged with ethnic intimidation, according to Woodson.

Johnathan Johnson, 18, was charged with aiding and abetting ethnic intimidation, and a 16-year-old Brevard High student was also charged with aiding and abetting ethnic intimidation, Woodson said.

In the wake of the incidents and subsequent rumors, Mahoney reassured parents that the school is safe.

In an email to parents, Principal Jennifer Anderson addressed the rumors, saying they are “harmful” to students.

Some students came together for student-led prayer in the wake of the incidents, Mahoney said.

“I think that says a lot about the student body out there, too,” he said.

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Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, https://www.citizen-times.com

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