Wiggins - Stone High School's football team was making a name for itself as the Tomcats turned around years of mediocrity with a winning season under the school's first-year coach.But now the south Mississippi school's football programme is known for something else - a black junior varsity player who says as many as four white students put a noose around his neck during an October 13 football practice.At a Monday news conference, the Mississippi NAACP demanded a federal hate crime investigation."No child should be walking down the hall or in a locker room and be accosted with a noose around their neck," state NAACP President Derrick Johnson said during a news conference in Wiggins. "This is 2016, not 1916. This is America. This is a place where children should go to school and feel safe in their environment."Hollis and Stacey Payton, parents of the alleged victim, attended the news conference but didn't speak. Their son, an unnamed sophomore, wasn't present.The NAACP said the incident happened during a break in football practice and that the noose was "yanked backward" while on the student's neck.Johnson wouldn't say whether the noose left marks. State NAACP spokesperson Ayana Kinnel said the family indicated the student returned to practice after the incident.Stone High has about 800 students, about a quarter of whom are black, according to state figures. The school is the only public high school in the 18 000-resident county.Mississippi has struggled with a history of racial division. It is the last state that still incorporates the Confederate battle emblem in its state flag.