This story was originally published 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.
Earlier this week some Black students were put into an Instagram chat where they were called racial slurs. Other derogatory comments were also directed at them.
“The school needs to protect us. School is a place where we are supposed to be safe and learn,” said a student, speaking to the students who had had walked out. “Somebody really took time out of their day to send death threats to me and my beautiful friends just because we are a little darker than the rest of you all.”
Dozens of students walked out of school and stood in the rain to listen.
“They are telling my friends they need to hang themselves and us mixed people should have nothing to do with the white people,” said Jasmyn Munkberg, a student. “They are saying we need to leave the school and they don’t want us here. It’s just gross to me.”
Students also referred to an incident where signs for a Black Excellence Club were torn down and destroyed.
Throughout the morning, the students held signs and eventually marched around the block and back to the school’s south campus.
The school district sent a message to families that said they are working with law enforcement to find out who is behind the Instagram chat. The message also said that racism and racist behavior will not be tolerated at the school.
“My personal experience is that people start joking around about the n-word and it’s just acceptable, like racial slurs are OK. And they’re just not OK,” said Jace Keys, a student.
Keys said he wanted to stand with all students and show solidarity against racism. He’s hoping for positive change.
“As a Black minority student, I felt the need to speak up to everyone to tell them how I feel,” said Keys.
The message from the district to families also said that the school is committed to ensuring a safe and respectful environment for all students.