A California school district made a support group for white students to discuss how the Derek Chauvin trial affected them

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t Millennium and Piedmont high schools CA race white support group chauvin
The Millennium (R) and Piedmont (L) high schools seen in Piedmont, California. Google Maps
  • On April 20, Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, was convicted of murdering George Floyd.

  • A schools district in California set up a support group so white students could talk about it.

  • News of the event spread on TikTok and the backlash was immediate. The district scrapped the group.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

A California school district set up a support group for white students so they could talk about how the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial was affecting them.

Chauvin, a white police Minneapolis officer, was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter on April 20 over the death of George Floyd, a Black man, in May 2020.

Floyd's killing triggered mass protests against racism and police brutality across the US, and his death has become a symbol of racial injustice in the US.

But in the wake of the verdict administrators with the Piedmont Unified School District launched a support group for white students at two high schools, according to internal emails obtained by SF Gate.

An April 21 email to students and faculty published by SF Gate said: "We are offering a restorative community circle to support White students who would like to discuss how the trial, verdict, and experiences related to the George Floyd murder are impacting you." It was attributed to Cheryl Wozniak, the assistant superintendent of educational services.

Separate "support circles" with on-site counselors were also announced for BIPOC, African-American, and Black students, SF Gate said, citing school emails.

george floyd derek chauvin
Ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin (R) and George Floyd (L.) Christopher Furlong/Getty Images; Ramsey County Sheriff's Office via AP

News of the white-only support group spread following a viral TikTok post, and the backlash was intense inside the schools and online.

As a result, school district officials scrapped the white-only group meet-up scheduled for April 29, Fox 2 KTVU reported, citing the school newspaper The Piedmont Highlander.

The groups for BIPOC and Black students went ahead as planned on April 30 and May 3 respectively, the paper said.

On April 23, Randall Booker, the superintendent of the Piedmont Unified School District, said in a statement that the idea was a mistake.

"A poor choice of words in the subject line of the invitation to white students led to the perception that white students needed the same kind of 'support' as our BIPOC students," he wrote.

"Students of all racial backgrounds rightfully pushed back on that idea."

"The District's intent was to give our BIPOC students a safe space to talk with others from similar racial backgrounds and to provide white students with an opportunity to talk about how to be an ally," he said.

Cory Smegal, the school board president, said students were right to criticize the school.

"Our students were the first to call attention to it, and they were right to do so," she said, SF Gate reported.

"The leadership response was swift and direct - an apology, an explanation. But we understand that all of these caused harm that needs repair."

Read the original article on Insider