State police in West Virginia are investigating after an African American high school basketball player discovered a disturbing drawing of himself in a locker room at a rival school.
Jace Colucci, 17, found a drawing of a stick figure with a noose around its neck and his name written next to it just before a game between Wyoming East High School and Westside High School, according to an attorney representing Colucci's family.
Colucci, the only African American player on the Westside High School basketball team, has been subjected to targeted racial bullying before, attorney Sean W. Cook of Warner Law Offices told ABC News Thursday.
In February 2019, two students from Wyoming East High School shouted "Hang Jace" repeatedly during a game Colucci was playing in, Cook said.
The incident was posted on Snapchat, according to Cook.
He said the school district did not follow proper policy regarding that incident and it was not known if the conduct was in violation of policies because neither Jace nor his mother were informed of such a decision.
"The requirements were not followed, and the bullying and harassment escalated and reoccurred this past Friday," Cook said.
The superintendent of the Wyoming County Schools, the district where the two schools are located, confirmed the drawing was found in a locker room at Wyoming East High School before last Friday's game.
Superintendent Deirdre Cline told ABC News the school turned the investigation over to the West Virginia State Police.
"I cannot tell you how much we care about kids in this county," Cline said. "We are all over this and doing everything we know."
"If there is action to be taken, Wyoming County Schools will support that action and be a participant in that action," she said in a telephone interview. "We have absolutely zero tolerance for bullying and harassment."
Cline said no students have been disciplined as of yet.
As for the Snapchat video, she confirmed that a social media video had circulated last year, but the school and the Wyoming Sheriff's Office could not determine exactly what was said. She noted that the incident was still addressed within the school, but could not disclose what action was taken citing privacy laws.
West Virginia State Police said in a statement to ABC News that the agency was "conducting an investigation into an incident that occurred at Wyoming East High School," regarding the drawing.
Police directed further questions to the Wyoming County Prosecuting Attorney’s office. A spokeswoman for that office told ABC News they were at one point investigating a potential crime, but the case had been turned over to state police.
Cook said he is pursuing both state and federal legal options, including the possibility of a claim under the Civil Rights Act.
Colucci's mother, Erica Colucci Ayers, told ABC News in a brief statement that she just wants justice.
"I want a change for not only my child, but all children of our community that has been made to feel less than their peers," Ayers said.