Pamplin Media Group – Newberg investigates student of racist “slave trade” group


School administrators investigate racist and homophobic threats made on a social media app.

Due to screenshots of posts circulating on social media, as well as reports from his cohorts, at least one Newberg High School student was identified on September 14 as being involved in a Snapchat group filled with hate speech and hate speech. violent threats.

The group, titled “Slave Trade,” includes teenagers from across the country who post pictures of black classmates and joke about auctioning them off as slaves.

The messages included racist, homophobic and violent language, some specifically targeting black NHS students. It is not known if more than one NHS student was a member of the group, which NHS administrators say was created by high school students in Michigan.

PHOTO - Another screenshot of the “Slave Trade” social media group chat is shown here. “They can run but they can’t hide,” wrote the Newberg student, who is white but whose name will not be identified in this story, in the slave trade group of two of his black classmates after posting their photo. “$ 100 each. They like to pick cotton.”

“I’ll take them for 150 as a pair,” replied another member of the group.

“All blacks should die,” wrote another. “Let’s make another holocaust.”

After outrage surfaced on social media from parents and community members when the cat’s screenshots were discovered, NHS Director Tami Erion sent a letter to students and to parents condemning what had happened and declaring that an investigation was underway.

“Newberg High School learned of a very serious and inappropriate social media incident in which one of our students participated in a Snapchat group called ‘Slave Trade’ and used photos of others. Newberg High School students in the group, ”Erion wrote. “Attached to the photos were derogatory comments which included racial and homophobic slurs. This discussion started in Michigan in late 2020, but our administrative team was just notified of the group and our students’ participation late Friday (September 10). Students, parents, and community members appropriately reported Snapchat to school officials and we immediately launched an investigation. While the investigation is still ongoing and we cannot comment on the details, we want to reassure our community that, as we always do, we are following council policy with respect to harassment, bullying and to possible disciplinary measures.

“We are deeply dismayed that this behavior and activity has been shown by anyone in our community. We condemn actions such as these which represent the antithesis of what we believe in and our standing as a family of Newberg Nation. As a community, we continue to struggle with issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Newberg High School is committed to ensuring a learning environment for all students safe by prohibiting harassment based on gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion or disability.

Erion said there will be disciplinary consequences for the student’s actions and that more will be done to determine the extent of the harassment and threats being made in the Snapchat group. She pointed out that counseling resources are also available for students who wish to discuss this issue. It remains to be seen whether other students than the one identified were members of the group or were participating in it.

Tai Harden-Moore, a black woman and former Newberg School Board candidate, is the parent of an NHS student. She said Erion’s statement is an important step, but the school and the district need to do more to speak out against racism and bigotry for what they are.

She sharply criticized the Newberg School Board’s controversial ban on political symbols.

“The fact that a student (or students) feel comfortable enough to engage in such odious and disgusting behavior is a clear illustration of the racism and discrimination that plagues this community,” said Harden-Moore. “It shows each of us the hard work we need to do to make our community and our schools welcoming to all. Obviously, we have failed, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do better, because we can and we must. I shudder when I think about how our black and brown students are feeling this week. Especially given the apprehension with which they went to school last week; not knowing what to expect after the nefarious actions taken by four school board members banning Black Lives Matter and Symbols of Pride. ”

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