CINCINNATI - North College Hill is holding its collective breath, as it prepares to be the site of dual rallies on Friday. One by the National Alliance and the other by a group calling for unity. Both are reactions to the beating of a white man allegedly by six black teenagers earlier this month.
Some civil rights groups have called the National Alliance a white supremacist group. The rally is set to take place at noon on Friday, within sight of the North College Hill middle school and high school.
Parents say they don't want to take any chances with their children. Schools in North College Hill are allowing parents to keep their children home Friday and many say they will.
As parents picked up their children Thursday, most had the rally on their minds. One grandmother explained her concerns.
"I don't want him exposed to this. It's reality but I'm looking out for him. You don't know what's going to happen out here. So I don't want him mixed up in this mess," said Ramona Bush, whose grandson is in the fifth grade and attends North College Hill Middle School.
Police say they're working with the district to keep everyone safe.
“The school system has a strategic plan in effect. We will have cruisers patrolling the lots and actually have officers in the office area," said Chief Gary Foust.
Chief Foust says his officers and outside law enforcement will keep the National Alliance rally in a double barricaded area, right in front of the police station.
"We have a 9-foot buffer zone and in this buffer zone will be law enforcement personnel and on the inner perimeter will be the National Alliance," said Foust.
The group says it wants more investigation into the beating of Pat Mahaney, who was seriously injured during the assault, which police said took place because the teenagers were bored.
"We have met with the National Alliance and they understand the rules coming into this and they have assured us that they will abide by those rules," said Foust.
Those assurances and police saying schools will be on lockdown, not allowing any students out during school hours on Friday, aren't enough for some parents.
“The principal has stated that the kids wouldn’t be outside at all. All the activities will be in the school. But I’m not going to take that chance, you never know what’s going to happen nowadays. So he’ll be home," added Bush.
A "unity" rally hosted by local ministers in an effort to bring the community together will also be held at noon. That rally takes place at the North College Hill Community Center at 1500 West Galbraith Road, just a few blocks away from the National Alliance rally.
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