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Armstrong students hold walkout over alleged racist incident involving teacher

Dozens of Armstrong High School students walked out of class early Wednesday after a teacher allegedly used racist language in class.

PLYMOUTH, Minn. — At around 1 p.m. Wednesday, a small group of parents gathered outside Armstrong High School. Within 30 minutes, dozens of students joined them.

"Well, this is my son," parent Rashad Rich said. "Known him all his life. He's really an advocate for equal rights."

Rich's son, Adaunus Rich, organized the walkout. He and fellow students say they're hurt and concerned over a recent alleged incident involving a teacher reportedly using the N word in class.

"Segregation, racism, all that," Adaunus Rich said. "It's been going on for years on end, no stop. People see it and they decide not to say anything. They decide not to do anything. So since all of us are young, going to be here for a while, why not just start a new wave? A new era now."

A statement from Robbinsdale Area Schools says, "Robbinsdale Area Schools acknowledges that a complaint was filed about an Armstrong High School teacher. An investigation occurred and has been completed. The teacher has returned to their assignment."

Rashad Rich says he understands why certain details can't be revealed but says he would like the district to provide more information.

"I get information about why their buses are not coming but this here, I don't get the information about," he said. "I'm encouraging my son to do a walkout. If it has to happen every day until we get some answers, that's what he's going to do."

While Robbinsdale Area Schools did not confirm or deny the alleged incident, the district sent the following information after the walkout was complete:

"Robbinsdale Area Schools condemns the use of racial or ethnic slurs under any circumstance. The district’s Equity Policy notes that 'RAS is committed to the provision of a barrier-free learning environment.'

The use of certain words, or allegations that certain words were used, can indeed create a barrier to learning and cause harm to those who are present and the entire school community. The use of slurs goes against the core values of the district and our commitment to serving students and families.

Racist language does not belong in our schools. Nor should we make excuses for actions that may have caused harm to students and their families. We acknowledge we have work to do to repair relationships and to rebuild trust with students and their families. We take that responsibility seriously.

Robbinsdale Area Schools strives to provide a safe, respectful and welcoming environment for every child."