Lila Miller, A&E Editor
A local Statesboro woman is angry with a Georgia Southern librarian who called the police on her son and his friend utilizing the Zach S. Henderson Library on the Statesboro campus. The former GS Business and Social Services alum took to Facebook on Friday Oct. 19 to sound off on her frustrations over what she viewed as a racially charged incident.
The woman left her 15-year-old son and a friend at the library as she had done frequently during the summer months. The two boys were listening to headphones and using the library’s computers at the time.
Henderson Librarian, Kristen Hicks reportedly asked their ages and the boys continued using the services. Twenty minutes later, a police officer arrived on the scene, the boy called his mother, and another police officer came.
“Police gets on the phone saying they didn’t do anything wrong, they just can’t be here without an adult. I’m really confused bc [sic] I have saw [sic] kids there many times without an adult. But ok, I’ll come get them. When I arrived, literally two police cars [were] sitting in front of the library. When I walk in and talk to a Kristen Hicks she told me it’s their policy… I’m like ok, but why call the police why not call me? [She said] ‘Ma’am your number wasn’t listed.’ So, why not walk over to them and get my number? She had no answer!” the woman wrote.
The woman in question has preferred to remain anonymous as she is currently seeking legal counsel over the matter. Earlier today, the aforementioned policy on the library’s FAQ website under the question, “Are children allowed in the library?” The site states that “children under the age of 14 should be supervised by an adult.” The boys in question were both 15 years old, above the age required for adult supervision.
The woman hashtagged the post with #overpolicingblackpeopleisreallyathing. George-Anne Inkwell staff reached out to Henderson Library for a statement, was told to leave a message, and then redirected to the University Communications and Marketing Department.
After some internal investigation, staff also noticed that the incident was not recorded in the “Daily Crime and Fire Log” the university documents in regard to police incidents.
Communications Director, Jennifer Wise released this official statement regarding the incident,
“Georgia Southern University Police were called to assist in locating the children’s guardian in order to ensure the safety of the two unaccompanied minors. University policy requires that unenrolled minors be supervised by an adult while on campus. The boys were not reported for causing trouble. The University recognizes that an outdated FAQ section on the Library’s website included information in conflict with the current policy. We regret that this section was not up-to-date and apologize to the mother of these boys and anyone else who has relied on this inaccurate information. This information has been corrected on the website.”
As of press time, the post has been shared 78 times, garnered 233 comments and 154 reactions.
Members of the community expressed their similar frustrations writing, “Racism is racism…She could’ve just called you. Here I am bringing another black male into this world and it hurts my soul…You should be upset. We didn’t ask to be born black and it’s sad our men have to suffer for it…”
This is the second reportedly racially charged incident at the Statesboro campus in the last two weeks, and the newest investigation is ongoing.