California’s Dixon School District in Turmoil Over Racist Instagram Post

A California school district is scrambling to find solutions after a racist, student-created social media post that mocked Black History Month and featured images of their Black principal and classmates did the rounds this week.

In a press release late Wednesday afternoon, the Dixon Unified School District issued a lengthy letter on its website detailing the incident.

“The nature of the post is racially offensive,” the note read.

According to the statement, earlier that day, a parent of a student at John Knight Middle School discovered and reported an “inappropriate” social media post to school officials. In the letter, district officials said they were unsure of how the parent came across the social media post, but a small investigation found that the post was shared online by a seventh-grade student during lunchtime.

However, during a news conference Wednesday night, Superintendent Brian Dolan said he believed more students were involved with the post, according to footage aired by local Sacramento outlet KCRA.

In the letter from the school district, the social media post was described as a collage of photos that included about 20 students and a staff member who were either Black or identified as mixed-race.

Along with the various images, the collage was captioned, “Happy black history month to all of the monkeys.”

“It [was] clear from the nature of the pictures that these individuals did not know why their picture was being taken. They are posing and smiling as one would do for a casual picture,” the school district said.

“Never in my thirty-five years in education have I seen something so hateful, vile, and abhorrent come from one of my students,” Dolan wrote in a statement that was included with the district’s letter. “It is not possible to describe the devastating impact that this post will have on members of our school community, and many people outside it. Despite claims stating otherwise, racial hatred and discrimination remain persistent and corrosive forces in our society, and as evidenced today, among students in Dixon Unified. This is a shameful, shameful moment for which there is no excuse or explanation. As the leader of Dixon Unified, and a person who places great value on each and every one of our students, I apologize for this post.”

At the news conference, Dolan revealed that the school’s principal Kamilah O’Connor was seen in the collage. He called it “the most extreme incident” he had been connected to that involved hate speech.

“I’ve never seen anything as hateful as what happened today,” he said.

Dolan said that during the initial investigation, one student had been reprimanded for having a part in the social media post, and families of students identified in the photos were contacted. Counseling services would be made available and a resource officer would have more of a presence at the school, he added.

According to KCRA, the student responsible could face criminal charges.

“We suspect that there are probably other students involved, perhaps in taking the pictures and assembling this collage, this twisted collage,” Dolan said. “So, that’s part of what we’ll be investigating.”

The news conference gained traction with community members on social media.

The Dixon school board also addressed the matter at Thursday’s regular board meeting.

“Racism is not welcome in this community or anywhere in America in any form, Dixon board president David Bowen said at the start of the meeting.

The board added that an investigation was underway but that details could not be shared with the public.

“Just know that we’re vigilant, we’re paying attention, and we will find some resolution and hopefully we’ll have some more information to share,” a board member said.

Neither Dolan nor O’Connor immediately returned The Daily Beast’s requests for comment Friday.

Source link

Leave a Comment