Nolan Catholic administrators did little to stop racist group chat, alumni say in letter

Nichole Manna
·3 min read

A letter signed by alumni of Nolan Catholic High School calls for school administrators to properly investigate the junior varsity baseball team after members used racist language in group chats and one player posted racist material on his social media page.

The letter, obtained by the Star-Telegram, was sent on Monday to principals Leah Rios and Cindy Jung and Bishop Michael Olson. It said a member of the team posted in a group chat a selfie of himself and a picture of Martin Luther King Jr. with the caption “Happy (n-word) Month.”

The selfie was posted during Black History Month.

In a statement, Olson condemned racism and said, “Children and young people who speak words and commit acts of racism require correction, education, and formation for our individual and social conversion. If attitudes of racism are tolerated or encouraged, the safety of the educational environment is damaged.”

In a letter on Monday, Nolan Catholic said there were two incidents involving the use of a slur and the school responded immediately in accordance with its handbook.

We have responded to each situation promptly and individually addressed each of the families and students involved with gradual and due process resulting in punitive and corrective measures for the students most directly involved,” according to the letter, signed by Rios.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

The school said it planned to implement additional diversity training. It will include “receiving training from a professional organization and working the material into a program that incorporates our Catholic values as appropriate for students, staff, and families,” Rios wrote.

The alumni letter states that the same students have used the racist term during the group chat conversations.

“When this was brought to the attention of the administration and coaches, there were little-to-no consequences for the offenders,” according to the letter from the alumni. “This type of blatant racism cannot be tolerated.”

Furthermore, the alumni letter states that there is only one Black member of the baseball team. When his parents, who are also Nolan alumni, brought the harassment to the administration’s attention, the letter says they were asked to help their son “move past” the incidents.

“The offenders received nothing more than a few weeks of virtual school,” according to the letter. “Notably, the offenders are still on the JV baseball team and are back at school.”

The alumni say students have been silenced by the administration from discussing current issues related to racism.

“The administration missed important teachable moments with these students and an opportunity to support and step up for a student who had to silently suffer his teammates’ racism,” the alumni wrote.

The alumni said they would also like to the school to:

Review and revise the code of conduct to include racist or bigoted bullying as zero-tolerance policies.

Create a clear plan of action for discipline of students who violate those policies.

Include anti-racism texts into the curriculum at all grade levels.

Make diversity and inclusion a priority and create learning opportunities related to inclusion.

Encourage discussion among students related to experience of persons of color.

There were six pages of signatures.