Centennial High School Plans Walkout After Student Receives Anti-Asian Texts

Students at Centennial High School are planning a walkout on Monday, after one of their classmates received anti-Asian texts, Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield reports (2:14) WCCO 4 News At 5 - March 26, 2021

Video Transcript

- A Twin Cities school district says that it believes more work needs to be done after a student went public showing racially insensitive text messages. We edit out some of the wording, but these are the texts that Centennial High School student Eliana Yang says that she got in a group text from other students. The school is investigating. As Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield shows us, students at the school have a bold plan to try and make change.

SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: Nestled on the outskirts of the city, Centennial High School sits in the Circle Pines area. It's where Elena Yang says she's gotten a painful education in life.

ELIANA YANG: It's been going on for so long, and it just like-- I feel like it's normal, because they kind of normalized it, and I'm just used to hearing it all the time.

SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: She says she has been called racially-insensitive words for years and recently got a barrage of hurtful words in a group text message with classmates.

ELIANA YANG: They were just telling me that I'm useless, and that I'm gonna fail school, and that my dad to go back to Hong Kong, and the whole family can go with it.

SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: As mom, when you read through those messages, what did you think?

ANNA YANG: Oh, absolutely disgusting, heartbreaking.

SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: Eliana decided to go public on Instagram, sharing the piercing words with the world. Why did you want to speak out?

ELIANA YANG: To show people that racism and bullying is real, and that people do get away with it.

SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: A recent alumni told us she was also a victim to harsh words.

- I am very, very upset about it.

SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: She's helped organize a student and alumni walkout on Monday.

Have you gotten a reaction from the school district?

ANNA YANG: Absolutely. They are very supportive. Principal Bruening, extremely supportive. The counselors have reached out.

SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: The district tells WCCO an investigation was conducted and appropriate disciplinary action is being taken.

And what is your hope that comes from this?

ELIANA YANG: To make people feel safe.

SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: Susan Elizabeth Littlefield, WCCO 4 News.

- The ISD 12 district also told WCCO that they recognize there are still issues and are committed to a plan to ensure that these issues are addressed. The school walkout is planned for Monday morning at 9:45.