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Parents, Activists Upset Over Washburn Racial Incident

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(credit: CBS) Esme Murphy
Esme Murphy, a reporter and Sunday morning anchor for WCCO-TV, h...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A group of Minneapolis parents and community activists are expressing their anger over a racial incident.

They say Minneapolis Public Schools failed to adequately deal with a Jan. 11 incident where a black doll was hung by a rope in a stairwell at Washburn High School.

The incident is going to be discussed at the Minneapolis school board meeting tonight — even though it’s not on the agenda.

However, board members and possibly the superintendent are expected to make a statement.

At a news conference earlier on Tuesday, parents and community activists said Minneapolis schools are not doing enough in the aftermath of the hanging of a doll at Washburn High School.

Washburn parent Maren McDonell said her daughter, “is one semester away from graduation and she tells me she she doesn’t feel safe in her school.”

An image of the doll was taken by students and posted on social networking sites. The incident was also captured on school surveillance cameras. Parents are upset that the first emails about the incident to parents didn’t go out until five days after it happened.

“The incident happened on Friday. Monday, at the latest, there should have been a letter drafted,” Washburn parent Ralph Crowder said.

These groups are also demanding to see school records about the incident and they want teachers, as well as students, to be required to receive education on the history of lynchings and other violence against African Americans.

“Black people were literally hung in this society and there are people who don’t know that,” Community Activist Mel Reeves said.

Students say one student involved was expelled and two others were suspended.

A school spokesperson said, “We have been responding diligently. We have met with the students and families directly involved. We are focusing on tomorrow’s community meeting, and how to achieve unity and move forward.”

That community meeting is scheduled for Washburn High School tomorrow at 5 p.m. and is open to the public.

As for the board meeting tonight, parents and community members are expected to voice their concerns with the board, as well.

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