Another school district faces racially charged incident
SOUTH ST. PAUL, Minn. — South St. Paul is the latest school district to deal with hurtful comments made by students in the wake of the Nov. 8 presidential election.
A video of a student making racist comments and telling racist jokes to classmates was posted to Facebook and was watched more than 7,000 times before it was taken down Tuesday.
In the video, a group of students is having a heated political discussion with one student accusing another of being racist. The student responds by making racist comments and shouting "Trump" as the video ends abruptly.
The video does not appear to have been recorded on school grounds. District officials said they investigated the incident and took the "appropriate action," but declined to discuss whether any students were disciplined.
Superintendent Dave Webb sent an email to parents and students Tuesday to remind them of the district's "core values," which include respect, equity and compassion. The district is also working with staff at the secondary school to let all students know they have the right to feel safe, welcome and supported at school.
"Like many districts and communities around our country, we have been faced with some challenges following the presidential election," Webb said in a statement responding to questions from the Pioneer Press. "We are committed to ensuring all students have a safe and supportive learning environment and will continue to be responsive to any concerns that arise."
Districts across the Twin Cities and the nation have been dealing with similar incidents related to the recent president election. In a CBS-TV interview Sunday, President-elect Donald Trump said his supporters that are engaging in racist and hateful acts should "stop it."
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups nationwide, said more than 400 incidents of intimidation and harassment have been reported since Nov. 9.
In the metro area, racist graffiti was found at Maple Grove High School; a middle school student in Coon Rapids had her Islamic head scarf, or hijab, torn off her head; and a Como Park High School teacher in St. Paul was put on paid leave for allegedly making racially charged remarks to students.
Jane Berenz, superintendent of the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan district — the state's fourth largest — sent an email similar to Webb's to parents Tuesday. Neither email mentioned any specific incidents.
"Disrespectful behavior of any kind will not be allowed," the message said. "Kindness, respect and tolerance toward one another are expectations in our schools, whether it be during a classroom discussion or while interacting with each other in the hallways or on social media."
The Pioneer Press is a Forum News Service media partner.