Two men are facing federal charges after authorities say they allegedly threatened a York County para-educator who appeared in a controversial and viral Facebook video.
Authorities believe the racially-charged threats were called in to Tabb High School after a video surfaced showing the para-educator, who is black, allegedly trying to “shove” a Make America Great Again flag “down” a student’s shirt.
Daryl Curtis Byerly, of Las Vegas, Nevada, and Robert Michael Scott, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, are each charged with two counts of threatening to injure in interstate communication.
Byerly and Scott were both indicted May 15 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Byerly and Scott are accused of calling Tabb High School on March 2 and 3, respectively, and leaving threats containing numerous derogatory statements on the school’s answering machine, court records show.
While Byerly called and allegedly left a threatening voice message March 2, authorities say he called back March 6 and spoke directly to another person. When that person refused to give any personal information about the woman shown in the video, he allegedly threatened to kill them as well.
Authorities believe Scott also called twice, allegedly leaving two threatening voicemails in a row March 3.
The video that prompted the federal cases was posted by a Facebook account called “Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children.” The account posted the video on March 2, claiming it was filmed during a school spirit week.
The video shows a student wearing a “Trump 2020” flag reading “Make American Great Again.” A woman, identified by York County School Division as a para-educator, takes the flag and moves it over or around the student’s head as at least one student laughs in the background.
The teacher then walks away from the student.
It remains unclear what the para-educator did with the flag because her body blocks the view of the student in the video.
The video is no longer available on Facebook.
The publication of the video prompted a slew of comments, shares and reactions on Facebook, some of which expressed concern over the teacher’s actions. Other comments suggested the teacher might not have had ill intentions.
A school spokeswoman confirmed the York County School Division’s School Board Policy states school time and school property should not be used for political purposes.
Employees are expected to abstain from engaging in any activity supporting or opposing any candidate or political party while on duty, on school property during school hours or while representing the division.
On March 6, the York County School Division reported it had received threatening phone calls in connection with the video. The school declined to release information on what the callers said.
As a precaution, Tabb High School went under modified lockdown and after-school activities were canceled. The York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office also sent “at least two” additional deputies to the school for the day.
Papers in the federal court records management system do not list the men’s exact dates of birth, but do list years. Byerly was born in 1979 and Scott was born in 1966.
Both men have been granted bond.
One judge gave Scott a personal surety bond of $50,000 with special conditions, documents show.
Byerly was released on personal recognizance by a judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada. He must surrender his passport, cannot possess a firearm and must report to pretrial services in Las Vegas, according to court records.