Police in West Virginia are now investigating a disturbing incident involving a Black high school student and a drawing of him hanging from a noose.

Before a high school basketball game in Wyoming County on January 17, high school junior Jace Colucci walked into the opposing team's locker room and found a stick figure hanging from a noose. The head was blackened, and Colucci's name was written next to it.

The 17-year-old Westside High School student showed a photo of the picture to his mother, Erica Ayers, who spoke to local news outlet WVNS. 

“It was a racial threat of him hanging from a noose and to me…they crossed a line,” Ayers told WVNS.

According to Ayers, this wasn't the first incident of this nature.

"Last year, before we were heading to East, I received a phone call that a video had surfaced on Snapchat and it was kids chanting 'Hang Jace! Hang Jace!'"

When the story first hit on Monday, Wyoming County Chief Deputy Brad Ellison said he and his team were "coming in on their day off to investigate," WVVA reports. Wyoming County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Cochrane told WVVA it "was too early to speculate" whether it was a hate crime. 

But by Thursday, the story went national, and Wyoming County Schools decided to hand the case over to West Virginia state police, CNN reports.  

The school district was forced to release a statement about the incident, stating they take "all reports of bullying or harassment, of any kind, very seriously."

"We have Zero Tolerance for any form of bullying or harassment. These drawings and their origin will be investigated, thoroughly, and any necessary action will be taken," their spokesperson told CBS News.

Cochrane also released a statement, telling the news outlet that they "have a senior officer with Wyoming County Sheriff's Department who is looking into the investigation. He's going to pull all the [surveillance] videos and do an intensive investigation."

When Ayers took the original Snapchat video to the Wyoming County Board of Education, they told her the students involved had been punished. But now that this has happened again, she's calling for change.

"After last year, I think they failed my son. They didn't just fail my son…they failed all of the students," she said.

Despite her pleas, state officials are already throwing cold water on any attempt to call it a hate crime. In an interview with the Register-Herald, Cochrane said: "the criteria for hate crimes is very difficult to meet."