Just last month, a Missouri high school was inundated with media attention after LGBTQ students were bullied leading up to the National Day of Silence. Now, Kickapoo High School is making headlines again after one student posted a racist rant on Snapchat aimed at black student athletes.
In the 20-second long video initially shared on Snapchat — which then made rounds on other social media — an unidentified white male uses a string of racists slurs.
"I've got something to say. This is for all the coons, spics, and [N-word]," the student begins. "Stay the f*** out of our locker room. Coming in and stealing sh*t, we should f***ing lynch you. F*** all of you. It is a privilege to be in our school. You f***ers go around like you own the place."
Toni Robinson, president of the Springfield NAACP, shared her reaction with the Springfield News-Leader: "It took my breath away, personally. You're not surprised but the trauma, the feeling, the emotion that we've been experiencing for generations is relived in that moment."
Kickapoo principal Bill Powers, who has been quick to condemn the recent incidents that have occurred at the school, sent an email to parents confirming the offensive video shared on social media, which, in his words, contains "incredibly offensive content, including statements of racism and suggestions of violence."
Powers informed parents that the district was taking the "unacceptable conduct" seriously and then outlined steps the district took in response to the offensive video, including disciplining the student, requesting social media platforms remove the video, reporting the video to law enforcement, and making a hotline call to the Children's Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services.
"The law does not allow us to be specific on the disciplinary actions we have taken, but I assure you that it is significant and appropriate," Powers said in an email to parents, according to Springfield News-Leader.
"They took fast action," Robinson said. "They called within an hour of the incident taking place. They have followed policy in terms of making reports to SPD and informing the public of the situation."
Robinson added that Springfield parents, students and community members had contacted her, voicing their outrage. "Students are scared. They do not want to return to school tomorrow. They do not feel safe." She added, "Athletes want to know what their protocol is now for the locker room. The student that made that statement [on the video] was specific in talking to black athletes."
She added: "What took place can be categorized as a terroristic threat and so we want that to be taken seriously." Robinson said the post should be investigated as a hate crime.
Springfield Police spokeswoman Jasmine Bailey reports that Springfield school police are investigating the incident.
Just as an anonymously-ran Instagram page cropped up in support of the bullying targeting LGBTQ students, an Instagram page showing support for the viral video has emerged. The creator, encouraged by the anonymity of a dummy account, wrote, "the tables have turned recently and now black people are being racist toward whites and black people are barely getting discriminated against."
"We are aware of the social media account in question and have taken action through Instagram to request its removal. The content of the account is reprehensible," Stephen Hall, chief communications officer, of the school district, told the outlet. "Unfortunately, social media provides a platform that can reflect both the best and the worst aspects of society. In this situation, we see an example of the worst."
Hall added: "Our message is clear: We are in this together, we will not tolerate racism in any form, and we will speak out against it and take appropriate action at every opportunity."
"We are committed to ensuring that each and every student is respected and supported," Powers wrote in an email to parents. "Our ultimate goal is for all students to achieve their full potential, supported in a safe environment that fosters their learning and growth."
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