Clovis Unified superintendent Eimear O’Farrell said Sunday evening that high school students from the district were involved in sharing racially charged messages on social media over the weekend.
O’Farrell sent an email to Clovis Unified families saying that the district is looking into the extent of authority schools have in disciplining students who post comments online outside of school hours or activities.
“We are committed to taking whatever time and effort is necessary to exhaust every avenue available to us,” said O’Farrell, adding that she wants to send a strong message about the “intolerableness of such behavior.”
O’Farrell’s message begins: “It is with a heavy heart that I am reaching out to our Clovis Unified community today to address an intolerable string of text messages and social media posts that came to the attention of school administrators over the weekend. These posts, shared among young people in the community, at least some of whom attend Clovis Unified high schools, contained racially charged language and imagery directed at African Americans in general. Derogatory and inciting language such as was used in these messages has absolutely no place in our schools and is contradictory to the character and ethics we expect from our students.”
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The district has taken steps to prepare students for school Monday morning, district spokeswoman Kelly Avants said.
First, administrators at all high schools have reached out to African American student and parent groups so they are aware the district is investigating. Avants said meetings will be held beginning Monday with student and parent groups “impacted by the actions of these teens in the community.”
Additionally, Avants said, counselors and school leaders will visit every classroom or hold an assembly in the coming week to “reinforce our expectations around mutual respect and character among our diverse student body.”