STATESBORO — Georgia Southern alumni Yevette McCall is grappling with the policies put into place at the Zach S. Henderson Library after campus police were called on her 14-year-old son, and his 16-year-old friend on Oct. 19.
McCall retrieved a pass from the library’s front desk using her ID, that would allow her son and his friend access to the computers. She also checked out headphones for her son to use, and sat with them for about 10 or 15 minutes, even taking a picture with the two teens on Facebook, before leaving the teenagers alone to go grocery shopping. Something she said she has done in the past.
Not long after she left, while at the store, McCall said that she received a phone call from her son, informing her that the police had been called, and that her son and his friend could not be there by themselves without Ms. McCall accompanying them.
McCall also spoke to a GS police officer on the phone, who told her that the teenagers were doing nothing wrong, but they had to leave because of the library’s policy regarding unaccompanied minors.
“I’m like, really is that a new policy?” McCall said in a Facebook post, “The 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 [because] I have seen kids, there many times without an adult.”
The teens were upset by the situation, according to McCall. McCall said they did not understand why two police officers had to get involved when her son and his friend have been to the library alone on multiple occasions.
“Both of them were terrified,” McCall said in an interview. “They laughed about it later, but at that moment they were very scared.”
McCall was also upset about how the situation was handled. She said she thought that the police should not have been called, and that the librarian on duty should have called or emailed her directly if she did not want the young men in the library alone. According to McCall, this librarian was the same one that she had checked out headphones from.
“[The two teenagers] didn’t just walk in, and show up, no, [the librarian] saw them with me, [the librarian] talked with me, she interacted with me, ” McCall said. “And then they called the police on my child, and I’m not okay with that.”
McCall also said that the University had not contacted her personally after the incident.
“What they did was ridiculous, in my opinion,” McCall said. “I feel like [the teens]were targeted…I’m not okay with that because that’s not okay.”
McCall took to Facebook to express her disappointment in how the situation was handled, using the hashtag #overpolicingblackboysisreallyathing.
“I think over policing black boys is an issue, and my child did not deserve to be over policed,” McCall said in a follow-up interview. “I know we live in a world where [McCall’s son] may be targeted, but I never thought it would be at the place where I graduated from.”
Jennifer Wise, Georgia Southern Director of Communications, said in an email that the teenagers were not reported for causing trouble, and that the 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, as according to Wise, the library did not have Ms. McCall’s phone number, and that it was the university’s understanding that the teenagers attempted to call their mother, according to Wise.
“University policy requires that unenrolled minors be supervised by an adult while on campus. The University recognizes that an outdated FAQ section on the Library’s website included information in conflict with the current policy,” Wise said. “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 since been corrected on the website.”
According to Wise, the school tried to contact Ms. McCall, to reach out personally following the incident, but they were informed that she was consulting with an attorney at the time.
There was no police report surrounding the incident, according to Jennifer Wise.
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