Community Meeting Tonight Over High School Race Incident
Washburn High School students created and photographed a mock lynching using a doll.
In the wake of a grotesque Jan. 11 bullying incident at Washburn High School, the school district is organizing a community meeting on Wednesday night to "promote learning, respect, and unity."
In the incident, publicly revealed on Thursday, Jan. 17, four Washburn students hung an dark-skinned doll from a school staircase using a piece of string tied around its neck. According to Principal Carol Markham-Cousins, the students then snapped photos of the dangling figure and posted them on unnamed social media websites with the apparent intent to bully classmates.
The event runs from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., according to a flyer passed out by the school district. Childcare is available for ages 3 and above.
On Tuesday, the Star Tribune reported that a group of activists from the black community presented the administrators with a list of seven "action steps" that would shed more light on the district's response:
They asked the district to release internal communications from the day of the incident as well as the security camera video that captured the incident in which a dark-skinned doll was hung by string in a stairwell.
Other requests included Washburn suspension and expulsion data by race and gender, policies regarding expulsions for student safety, a meeting with the Washburn staff to hear student concerns about school climate, a copy of the school budget for at-risk students, and cultural competency training for the school staff led by an outside consultant.
Parents and community leaders say the district has let them and Washburn students down, and want to push the district to make sure an incident like this doesn't happen again.