This story originally appeared on April 9, 2021
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Students at White Bear Lake High School walked out of class Friday morning to protest what they say is the school administration’s lack of attention to racial issues.
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Earlier this week, black college students were put in an Instagram chat where they were called racial insults. Other derogatory comments were also addressed to them.
“The school must protect us. School is a place where we are supposed to be safe and to learn, ”said one student, addressing the students who had left. “Someone really took the time to send death threats to me and my beautiful friends just because we’re a little darker than all of you.”
Dozens of students came out of the school and stood in the rain to listen.
“They tell my friends to hang themselves and we mixed people shouldn’t have anything to do with white people,” said Jasmyn Munkberg, a student. “They say we have to quit school and they don’t want us here. It’s just disgusting to me.
Students also spoke of an incident in which signs for a black club of excellence were torn down and destroyed.
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Throughout the morning, the students held signs and finally walked around the block and returned to the school’s south campus.
The school district sent a message to families saying they were working with law enforcement to find out who was behind the Instagram chat. The message also said that racism and racist behavior will not be tolerated at school.
“My personal experience is that people start to joke about the n word and it’s just okay, as racial slurs are OK. And they’re just not doing well, ”said Jace Keys, a student.
Keys said he wanted to stand with all the students and show solidarity against racism. He hopes for positive change.
“As a black minority student, I felt the need to talk to everyone to tell them how I feel,” Keys said.
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The district’s message to families also indicated that the school is committed to ensuring a safe and respectful environment for all students.