Lake Oswego HS administrators investigate racist messages posted - KPTV - FOX 12

Lake Oswego HS administrators investigate racist messages posted in school, social media

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Picture of the LOHS student newspaper, which carries a screen shot of a hateful message posted on social media. Picture of the LOHS student newspaper, which carries a screen shot of a hateful message posted on social media.

Lake Oswego High School administrators said they are looking into several hateful and racist messages that were posted recently on a student-run Facebook page and in the school’s cafeteria.  

The school’s principal, Rollin Dickinson, said in a letter to parents that he became aware of a hateful social media post on Nov. 2, although the message was posted about two weeks earlier.

The post surfaced after a poll of possible senior prank ideas was created on the Class of 2017 Facebook page.

Students could share and like various ideas on the page.

Principal Dickinson said although many of the posts were harmless, some displayed disturbing ideas.

One response in particular suggested students “create a club called Ku-Klux-Klub and find every black kid and sacrifice them.”

Dickinson said he was deeply saddened that despite the frequent activity on the page, the post was up for weeks and was seen by many without any word to school administrators.

A student finally told a teacher about the post. It was taken off of the Facebook page shortly after.

The principal said they were able to determine that the student responsible for the post was a former LOHS student and now attends an out-of-district school.

Dickinson informed parents about another disturbing incident that took place on school grounds.

On Oct. 10, a day before the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, Dickinson said a picture of a concentration camp victim being pushed into an oven with the caption “Easy Bake Oven” written on it was posted in the school’s cafeteria.

An administrator saw a student taking a picture of the photo but was shocked to see the student not take down the picture, according to Principal Dickinson.

The picture was removed by the administrator.

Dickinson expressed his concern that Lake Oswego students chose to ignore the messages rather than feel compelled to challenge or report them.

I feel deeply for our students who are the direct and indirect victims of it and believe we are all injured as a result. And I worry that many of our students witness this kind of crudeness, this type of violence, in its many forms, more often than we think they do. I wonder if we have prepared our students, as we should, to be heroic in response.  

Superintendent Dr. Heather Beck said in a letter to parents Wednesday that she is concerned that immediate action was not taken.

I do not believe that this behavior is representative of our students or our community, but I am concerned that the students who viewed these postings did not challenge them or immediately report them. Nor do I believe this is a phenomenon exclusive to LOHS, but is representative of our shortcomings as a community in equipping our students with the empathy to embrace tolerance and stand up to injustice, and the tools to recognize and combat an increasingly coarse culture in the world around them.

Both Dr. Beck and Principal Dickinson reiterated the importance that these types of hateful expressions should not happen again. 

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