Metro-East News

Edwardsville High School reacts to racist social media posts circulating among students

Edwardsville High School has released a statement condemning racism one day after a racist Snapchat post caused disruption at the school and in the community.

On Tuesday morning, EHS administration was made aware of “a racially insensitive and inappropriate social media post that was sent off campus by one student to others” via the social media platform, Edwardsville Community District 7 Superintendent Jason Henderson wrote in a news release. The incident in question regarded use of the “N-word.”

“Many in our education community were rightfully and justifiably offended by the post,” Henderson said. “High school administration and staff swiftly addressed the disruptive behavior throughout the day and worked diligently to manage and dissipate the disruption.”

When school was dismissed on Tuesday, administrators learned of potential safety threats to EHS and reached out to Edwardsville police to report the rumors. According to Henderson’s release, it was determined there were no credible or viable threats to the high school or any other schools in the district.

EHS principal Dennis Cramsey said in a statement to students that “some students responded to the inappropriate posts and statements through threats of physical violence or by making negative comments in their response to the social media posts.”

Cramsey also wrote that some parents, including those who do not live in the community, spread “untruthful statements” about the incident.

The school district arranged for heightened security at the high school Wednesday morning. Classes proceeded Wednesday with no interruption, Henderson said.

School counselors and administrators were available for students to discuss the issues and provide positive conflict resolution if necessary, Henderson said.

In Cramsey’s statement to students, which was also posted on the school’s Facebook page, he condemned racism, among other forms of hate.

“I encourage all students to report, not react, to negative posts that target any individual or group of people,” Cramsey wrote. “While there is no question that the acts of a few students were racially motivated, I am asking you to think beyond the black and white image we often think of when we see racism. We need to understand that our comments, whether intended to harm or with no intention to harm another person, can bring injury and insult to a person.”

In the statement, Cramsey said that the administration is working to develop strategies and activities that will attack racism and is asking students, faculty, staff and parents to become part of the movement.

“Right now, we need to heal,” he said. “We can do that by making a commitment that racism has no home at EHS.”

Henderson said that the students involved in the “disruptive behavior” Tuesday are being disciplined by the school board and that the district will not comment further on specific student misconduct or consequences due to the sensitivity of the incident and confidentiality of student information.

The district is in contact with the Board of Education, Chief of Edwardsville Police and a representative from the NAACP to discuss promoting positive relationships between all individuals in the schools.

Henderson said at the next school board meeting, he will propose the creation of an Equity Task Force that includes members of the school board, administration, faculty, community members, parents and students.

Anyone with questions, comments or suggestions can contact Henderson at 618-656-1182 or by email at jhenderson@ecusd7.org.

Hana Muslic has been a public safety reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat since August 2018, covering everything from crime and courts to accidents, fires and natural disasters. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and her previous work can be found in The Lincoln Journal-Star and The Kansas City Star.
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