Washburn High School racial incident prompts discussions with parents

11:43 PM, Jan 23, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - Hundreds packed the auditorium at Washburn High School Wednesday night for a community meeting after students allegedly hung a black-skinned baby doll by its neck in the school hallway two weeks ago.

"I was embarrassed, humiliated, outraged, angry that this would happen at our diverse and rich school," Principal Carol Markham-Cousins told the crowd.

She began the meeting that was designed for people to share their thoughts and concerns about what happened.
Students were allowed to talk first. Many spoke about how they loved their school and that the actions of a few did not represent the many.

Some students wanted an apology from those involved.
"Parents please talk to your kids and make sure that it doesn't happen again," said one student who stood up to the microphone.

The school says the four students involved were disciplined, but citing privacy laws, refused to be more specific.

"I have spoken with all of those students and all of those parents and I'll tell you right now, they are full of remorse," said Markham-Cousins.

Some parents in the audience wanted to know why they weren't notified of the incident right away, instead of getting a notice days later.

The school apologized saying it was gathering facts about what happened and did try to send an email but there were technical problems delaying the message.

A number of community members demanded more be taught about African-American history in the classroom, not just here but in the Minneapolis School District, something the superintendent says is already taking place.

"We've already began to look at our social studies standards to see where we can do a better job...in our schools," said Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson.

And while school officials reassured the audience they're working hard to make up for any mistakes made, parents implored each other to do the same.

"If it wasn't for this, would you guys be here," said one parent. "We need to see more adults on something else other than this mess."

(Copyright 2013 by KARE 11. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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