Last week, students of color at White Bear Lake High School South Campus in Minnesota were invited into a group chat on Instagram where they were sent threatening and racist messages.
An investigation that included the FBI and local law enforcement found a single student was behind the incident, whose race and identity have not been disclosed. It appears a statement from Superintendent Wayne Kazmierczak may have been altered after publication to remove the word “hoax” from the statement.
The headline of a KSTP article reported that Kazmierczak called the incident “a hoax,” yet the “entire statement” included at the bottom of the article does not call it such. Still, Kazmierczak’s statement makes it pretty clear the incident was perpetrated by someone with genuine hate.
“This afternoon, a young person took responsibility for posting hateful messages on social media. While we are working to learn more about the motives behind this action, we understand that race is at the center of this incident and any use of hateful language against another student is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated. Our anger around racist acts and bullying remain critical to our work as parents, educators and community,” Kazmierczak said at a school board meeting Monday night.
Neither KTSP nor Kazmierczak responded to a Daily Wire request for comment prior to publication.
KSTP also reported that Kazmierczak said the student who sent the posts to others “poses no threat to our students of color,” yet again, that phrase doesn’t appear in what KSTP said was Kazmierczak’s “entire statement.”
A version of Kazmierczak’s statement that was sent by White Bear Lake South Campus principal Don Bosch included different wording. That statement included the following:
The initial investigations by the FBI, our local police department and the school district uncovered that the social media posts were not what they appeared. The original messages were found to be a hoax sent under false pretense by an Instagram account that was created by a student. The individual who created the social media posts poses no threat to our students of color.
Although these threats were false, they were very hurtful to those who received the messages and to our community. We remain committed to our work together to move our district forward.
The alleged incident resulted in hundreds of students walking out of classes to protest the messages, KSTP reported.
The incident began when members of White Bear Lake’s Black Excellence Club were invited to a group chat where they were bombarded with threatening and racist messages. KSTP reported that most couldn’t be shown, but included a list of some of the messages, including “GET HANGED. DIE. KILL YOURSELF” and “That’s why George Floyd died can’t wait until everyone your color leaves like that.”
Floyd died on May 25, 2020 following a police encounter. His death sparked riots across the country, resulting in billions of dollars of property damage.
Below is Kazmierczak’s full statement, according to what was published by KSTP:
In recent days our students, staff and community have been working through strong emotions brought forth by racist, hateful and threatening messages that were sent anonymously to several of our students of color. Our students have felt anger and disgust, and they have taken action in the face of the injustice against their fellow students. At the onset, we are committed to disrupting racism and systemic racism. Hate has no place in our schools or community.
Over the last week, we have worked with the FBI and local law enforcement, who investigated the racist, hateful, and threatening messages that were sent to several of our students of color from an anonymous Instagram account. The messages have caused great pain to our students and caused a material and substantial disruption in our school.
This afternoon, a young person took responsibility for posting hateful messages on social media. While we are working to learn more about the motives behind this action, we understand that race is at the center of this incident and any use of hateful language against another student is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated. Our anger around racist acts and bullying remain critical to our work as parents, educators and community.
We are united in supporting our students in speaking against racism and in support of our students of color over these past few days and will continue to work toward ensuring that White Bear Lake Area Schools is a community that advances racial equity and inclusion. We know from listening to our students that our continued and sustained commitment to educational equity is a critical part of how we achieve our stated district mission and close gaps that currently exist in our student outcome measures.