Centennial High School and others from its community have planned a walkout on Monday to stand up against anti-Asian racism after one student shared screenshots of racist texts she received in a group chat.
In an Instagram post, student Elaina Yang decided to expose the racism she has been experiencing for years at the Minneapolis school, according to WCCO
“I want to bring awareness to this situation and how prevalent harassment and racial slurs are happening at centennial high school,” Elaina wrote. “I’m coming forward with this because I know other people are experiencing this as well and I am hoping that other people seeing this will allow us to make change.”
In some screenshots, Elaina’s classmates called her a “ch*nk” and told her father to go back to Hong Kong and bring their whole family with him.
Anna Yang, the student’s mother, described the messages as “absolutely disgusting, heartbreaking.”
The incident caught the attention of the local school district, ISD12. It said in a statement that it had already conducted an investigation into the matter and “appropriate, disciplinary action is being taken.”
A daily dose of Asian America's essential stories, in under 5 minutes.
Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories to your inbox daily for free.
Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive.
“The Centennial School District condemns all types of hatred and racism and will take appropriate action with any situation,” the statement reads.
“Through our equity efforts, we have worked in partnership with our stakeholders to make a better environment for all of our students. We recognize there are still issues, and we are committed to partner with our stakeholders and the community on a plan to ensure these issues are addressed.”
Desi Hennagir, a recent alumna of Centennial High School, said she was very upset about Elaina’s experience and offered to help organize a walkout on Monday. However, a new statement from the school district barred non-students from participating.
“You may have heard of an outdoor event that was to occur on Monday morning. It was our understanding it was to be a student, alumni, and parent sit-out that has now grown to include the general public,”
the statement, posted by KARE11’s Gia Vang
“Knowing the public plans to attend, it is impossible to maintain a safe environment for students to have an event outside. We will provide a space inside the school where only Centennial students may convene on Monday. The public will not be allowed inside our school.”
The school will also follow COVID-19
protocols to ensure its students, staff and families’ safety amid the pandemic.
In an Instagram highlight, titled “my apology,” Elaina also apologized after past racist and homophobic messages were posted by the same students she accused of being racist towards her. NextShark could not verify these messages as the students’ accounts have since been deleted.
“I am so sorry. These are so old and I have changed my ways. The friends I used to hangout with would talk like this all the time and made it seem normal just like going against my own race. The one of ‘me’ saying the n word was not me and ik it wasn’t me. I don’t talk like that and I am extremely sorry,” she wrote.