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Hundreds Attend Meeting 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) — There’s a community meeting underway to talk about a recent racial incident at Washburn High School.

The image of a doll hanging by a string was captured by students and posted on social media.

While the school board won’t comment, students tell us one of the kids involved was expelled, the other two suspended.

The meeting is expected to last several hours and several hundred people are in attendance, including parents, staff and community members.

Speaking first tonight was the School Superintendent Bernadea Johnson who said the incident would mark the beginning of discussions about race in the Minneapolis Public Schools.

The school principal Carol Markham-Cousins also spoke saying it was a mistake that the school district made — its first notification of parents was five days after the incident.

She also said it was clear that many students didn’t understand why the image of a black doll hanging was so offensive — something Washburn parents we spoke with agree.

“I don’t think it was in good taste, but do I think it was malicious? I don’t, I think it was an act and an opportunity that they took too far,” said Tammy Nelson, a parent.

The hope is that this meeting can allow students, parents and staff at Washburn to learn from this incident.

A group of African American community leaders and parents criticized the school district’s handling of the matter on Tuesday.

The themes discussed so far — education, understanding and healing — are ones that the crowd at the meeting is responding to positively. There has been frequent applause.

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