(STATESBORO) Members of the community are wondering how the debate over the Effingham county High School mascot has taken a turn for the worse. An investigation is currently underway after an online threat was posted against the president of Georgia’s NAACP. The reported online threat is in response for the group’s push to change the rebel mascot at ECHS. The threat was made against Francys Johnson, an attorney in Stateboro, but also the current leader of the NAACP across the peach state. The comment came in connection with an article posted on social media about the group’s efforts to get the school board to change the rebel mascot at Effingham High. The threat says Johnson should be shot. ” I think it constitutes a terroristic threat..uh..and the Chief of Police in Pembroke thinks so as well….and I was so encouraged when they called me and said they were pursuing this. They said they didn’t want that as a statement of what people in Pembroke feel.” Johnson said. WSAV has confirmed the investigation. The police chief declined an interview, saying it’s ongoing and he would not make a further statement at this time.
Johnson is encourgaged by the police involvement because he can not just dismiss the comment as an idle threat. “Brazen! And so was the lunatic in South Carolina, who marched into a church, attended a bible study and murdered 9 folk in their…hallowed space.” Johnson said. adding, “Am I scared? Absolutely not! I shall not be moved. A true southern gentleman doesn’t hide behind a keyboard and use keyboard courage to send threats out against peoples lives. A true southern gentleman knows how to discuss issues in the public square and how to agree with out being disagreeable.” said Johnson.
Johnson says he does not believe that this post is protected by the first amendment because it targets him specifically and there is a time element that calls for immediate action. He also pastor’s a church in Bryan County and says he will not be intimidated to back down from his push for educational equality and for the high school to shed a symbol of the confederacy.