Missouri high school students allegedly posted petition calling for 'return of slavery'
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI: A group of students at Park Hill High School in Kansas City, Missouri reportedly posted a petition online calling for the 'return of slavery'. The petition prompted an investigation that might lead to suspensions or expulsions, district officials noted. Details of the said petition were not available Thursday, September 23.
Students at the school said the petition called for the return of slavery with leaked screenshots showing accompanying comments like "I hate blacks" and "I love slavery, " reports cited. The district’s superintendent, Jeanette Cowherd, said in a letter to parents Wednesday, September 22, that many in the community were "hurting right now" following the incident last week when a group of students posted "unacceptable and racist" statements online. Cowherd further said that the district's policies bar discrimination, harassment and retaliation adding that any student who violates the guidelines could be punished by suspension or expulsion.
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"I cannot share the specifics about any particular student’s discipline, but I can tell you that we follow our board policy when disciplining students, " Cowherd said in a letter. The school’s principal, Kerrie Herren, told parents on Friday, September 17 about the "unacceptable and racist" statements posted online by the students during a school-related activity. "We are outraged, hurt and saddened this occurred in our community. This is not who we want to be at Park Hill South. Our differences make us stronger, and we will not tolerate discrimination or harassment, " Herren wrote.
District spokeswoman Nicole Kirby said that a "small group" of students were responsible for the troubling online post. However, she declined to comment on the details. "We know who was involved,” Kirby said and added that she was precluded from discussing individual students but noted that those who were responsible would face "consequences". "This is a very clear indicator that we need to be doing work about making sure that our schools are safe for every student, where everyone feels like they belong, " Kirby further added. According to Kirby, the district has roughly 11,700 students, 12.7 per cent of whom are black and some 66.1 per cent are white. Kirby also noted the district will hold a "period of active listening". "We want to create more opportunities for listening to families and students so we can be aware of what the issues are that are impacting our school community, so we can identify our next steps, " Kirby said.