White Bear Lake HS Students Walk Out After Students Receive Racist Messages

Students at White Bear Lake High School walked out of class on Friday morning to protest what they say is the school administration’s lack of attention to racial issues (2:10) WCCO 4 News At 5 - April 9, 2021

Video Transcript

- Students at White Bear Lake High School walked out of class this morning to protest what they say is the school administration's lack of attention to racial issues. Earlier this week, some Black students were put into an Instagram chat where they were called racial slurs and other derogatory comments were directed at them. John Lauritsen visited the school today, where he heard the message from students and the administration.

PRECIOUS BOAHEN: The school needs to protect us. School is a place where we're supposed to be able to be safe and learn.

JOHN LAURITSEN: Around 10:00 o'clock Friday morning, dozens of students walked out of class to stand in the rain and listen.

PRECIOUS BOAHEN: Somebody really took the time out of their day to send death threats to me and my beautiful friends just because we are a little darker than the rest of y'all.

JOHN LAURITSEN: The messages were sent through an Instagram group chat. They included racial slurs and other derogatory comments directed at Black students.

JASMYN MUNKBERG: They were telling my friends that they need to hang themselves, and that us mixed people, we don't have anything to do with the white people. They're saying now we need to leave the school. They don't want us here. Like, it's just gross to me.

JOHN LAURITSEN: Students also referred to an incident where signage for a Black Excellence club was taken down and destroyed. Throughout the morning, they held signs--

[CHANTING]

--and eventually marched around the block and back to the school's South Campus. The school district sent a message to families saying they are working with law enforcement to find out who is behind the Instagram chat. The message also said that racism and racist behavior will not be tolerated at the school.

JACE KEYS: I personally, like, experienced with everyone. I've seen like most people just start joking around about, you know, the N-word and everything, making racial slurs thinking it's OK. And it's not. It's really not OK.

JOHN LAURITSEN: Jace Keys says he wanted to be here to stand with all students to show solidarity against racism. He's hoping for positive change.

JACE KEYS: As a Black minority, I feel that I should start, you know, to speak up to everyone and tell 'em how I feel. In

JOHN LAURITSEN: In White Bear Lake, John Lauritsen, WCCO News.

- The message from the district to families also said that the school is committed to ensuring a safe and respectful environment for all students.