Community Meeting Planned Over Washburn Doll Incident

Students hung dark-skinned doll by neck, spread picture on social media.

In the wake of a grotesque Jan. 11 bullying incident at Washburn High School, the school district is organizing a community meeting to "promote discussion and healing."

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. 

According to the Star-Tribune, Washburn canceled after-school activities in the wake of the incident. So far, the Washburn parents and teachers that Patch has contacted have not responded to questions about how the incident is impacting students and the school community.

District officials said the perpetrators were all caught and disciplined. However, they are staying tight-lipped about what actions were taken, and are refusing to comment on rumors that one or more students involved were suspended or expelled. In an interview with Patch, a district spokesperson said the students involved would also be "standing up and taking responsibility for their actions" in front of members of the school community during "restorative justice" meetings.

The district has said it's working with interfaith group ISAIAH to promote "deeper conversations" around the incident.

A community meeting to "promote discussion and healing" has been scheduled for 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 23 at the Washburn auditorium, according to an district announcement. 

"All school district stakeholders – students, teachers, staff, elected officials and community members – are invited to attend the meeting," the announcement says.

concerned parent January 19, 2013 at 04:59 PM
"In the wake of a grotesque Jan. 11 bullying incident...."you people in the media make me sick. I know the child involved in this incident and he is no bully, nor is he a racist. He is a teen that took a doll, that happened to be dark skinned from a classroom and he and others decided that it would be funny to hang it over the banister. I have a student at Washburn and it is my understanding that the doll was initially tied by the waist and other students took it upon themselves to tie it up additional ways. Now I absolutely agree that it was an outrageously stupid idea, but these kids don't think things through. Their initial impulse was "this is going to be funny" NOT "I hate african american babies" and the intent was not to threaten or bully. It is again my understanding that the main individuals best friend is african american. The child has suffered greatly for the ignorant act, but it was only that and nothing more. I do believe that had this been a doll of any other desent this would not be an issue- to reiterate, it would have never been known. This, in my opinion, and it is only that, was just a poor decision made by a couple students and in no way should reflect the diversified, comfortable environment at Washburn High School or its students.
Eve Black January 20, 2013 at 03:01 PM
I'm greatly dismayed by the complete and utter overreaction from the media and others of this foolish teen prank. Of course it was offensive but it was not premeditated as the kids found the doll in a classroom. Lets all calm down down and not destroy the lives of a few silly teenagers. Now they know the foolishness of their spontaneous and idiotic action but no one got hurt - it was a doll, people.


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