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‘It’s disturbing’: students, parents react to racist Instagram post made by classmate

By Michelle Bandur

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    DIXON, Califronia (KCRA) — The Dixon Unified School District is investigating a racist post on Instagram that showed pictures of John Knight Middle School students and their principal.

Superintendent Brian Dolan said a parent made him aware of the post on Wednesday and called a parent meeting, and news conference Wednesday night.

“This is the most extreme incident that I’ve been connected to in any way about this type of speech. This type of actions with regards to race, nothing close before, and with complete disregard,” Dolan said.

Dolan said the district identified a seventh-grade student who made the post from his personal account at school.

He said the media post shows a “twisted collage” of about 20 photos of five students from the middle school and its principal. In the photos, Dolan said they posed and smiled without knowledge of what the text of the post would read, which was, “Happy black history month to all of the monkeys.”

Everyone shown in the picture was either Black or biracial, and the school district said that the “individuals did not know why their picture was being taken.”

“It’s disturbing,” said Uriah Jenkins, a seventh-grader. “If someone says it straightforward targeting people for no reason, that’s messed up.”

Michelle Katoa is a parent of a seventh-grader, and she said is not surprised about the post. She pulled her son out of school on Thursday for bullying because of his race. She said he’s Polynesian and Tongan.

“Just constantly bullied and made fun of because of his nationality,” Katoa said. “He’s not the same as the other kids, and I’m not surprised some of the kids put up comments like that because it’s happened to my son, and nothing’s been done about it.”

Dolan said the student could be suspended or expelled and possibly criminally charged. That student was not on campus on Thursday.

“He should get suspended or expelled for doing that because that’s just making fun of Black history and Martin Luther King; he changed the whole world so all of us could be inside the same school,” Jenkins said.

The district brought in extra staff and counselors available for students who are upset and need to talk about it. A Dixon police school resource officer was also at the school today.

School board members react to racist post

Julian Cuevas, a board trustee with Dixon Unified School District, sent to KCRA 3 this statement that reads:

“My heart is with our DUSD and Dixon community today. I truly believe that our school district’s number one priority is to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for our students, faculty, and staff. The news of yesterday’s hateful post disrupts this. I look forward to the District formally establishing our new committee on school climate so that we may be able to proactively address these issues and ensure that they do not happen again. I know that our Dixon community is angry, upset, and hurting right now. With the investigation still under way, I ask and encourage us all to love, support, and be kind to one another. Counselors and appropriate staff will be made available for support on our campuses as we begin to try and heal together.”

David Bowen, another board member, sent a statement as well that read:

“When I learned of the post yesterday, I was shocked that someone in our community held these racist feelings, and that they felt comfortable using the anonymity of social media to express them in this manner. I’m supporting the efforts of District staff in attempting to heal the wounds created by the post for the affected families. I also hope to see it accompanied by an education piece so that we can move forward appropriately to help people of all backgrounds feel welcome in our community.”

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