JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Police are investigating an alleged bias attack against a Jersey City high school junior.
Micah Onditi, 16, received a slew of racist text messages warning him to drop out of the race for student council president at St. Peter’s Preparatory School because he is black, police said.
Sources confirmed the popular student-athlete was sent four text messages, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported Friday.
“There are people in the world who are racist. There’s many racist people and for them to want to hurt people, that’s wrong. That’s hurtful. And it does hurt. It does hurt to be the victim. And the writer of this, I don’t know how he sleeps at night,” Onditi told CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider on Friday night.
Onditi said he received the messages from a number he’d never seen before.
“Those messages said a lot of derogatory terms,” he said.
One of the messages read, “We have NEVER and will NEVER have an (n-word) to lead our school…Drop out right now.”
Another message read,” Your (sic) a waste on this earth, a waste at this school, and most importantly a Waste for this campaign.” The message went on to call Onditi a “slave,” Brown reported.
Onditi didn’t drop out of the race, but he didn’t win. He told Schneider it was a tough situation and hard to stay focused.
“It hurt. It hurt as a whole very much so and I was shocked and flustered and you could see it in my face. You could hear it in my words,” Onditi said.
Onditi believes the hateful messages tainted the election, but said he’s ready to move on.
“I can’t hold this against them the rest of my life. I’ve forgiven them, whoever this is, even though they haven’t revealed themselves to me, unfortunately,” Onditi said.
The incident shocked staff and students at the school.
“We consider it very offensive,” the school’s vice president, James Horan, said. “It’s not what St. Peter’s Prep is about, certainly, and it’s really a learning moment for the students.”
“Just because he’s African-American doesn’t mean you can say that to him,” senior Jeffrey Veloz said. “He’s a human being just like all of us.”
“I just thought it was really disrespectful and I felt it kind of brought down prep’s community a little bit,” freshman Nigel Hunter said.
Students said the alleged bias attack is completely out of character for the school, which is 40 percent minority and a blend of various ethnic, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds, Brown reported.
Police are investigating the incident and have classified it as a bias crime.
The phone number used in the text messages traced back to an anonymous online account, Brown reported. A court order is pending to force the website to turn over the account information.
No arrests have been made.
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