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Parents Disheartened Following Another Racial Incident At Washburn

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(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minneapolis Washburn High School is dealing with another incident involving students and a racial slur.

This time the hateful words were written in a book.

Gina Villareal says she got the story from her child, who attends Washburn, four days after it happened. She was told that while students were taking part in an extracurricular activity at another school, a student wrote a racial slur in a book.

“It was very disheartening,” Villareal said, “because a incident, a familiar incident…happened about a year ago.”

She says this latest incident mirrors that of one a year ago, when a dark-skinned doll was found dangling from a string in a stairwell inside the school.

Because of privacy issues, Minneapolis Public Schools will not give specifics about the recent incident, who was involved and the punishment handed down.

“I can say that it is something we dealt with pretty quickly, applied discipline where we needed to, and we are moving forward,” said Stan Alleyne, a spokesperson for the district.

A letter was sent to parents, as well as a voicemail, days after the incident.

“That wouldn’t be immediate communication,” Villareal said.

She says what upsets her is the district waited so long to let parents know there was an issue.

Villareal says she does not think there is a race relations problem at Washburn, but she is concerned about what she calls underlying issues.

Parent Martin Abrams says he does not want an isolated incident to overshadow all the good happening at Washburn.

“We have a school that’s academically challenging, [has] great athletics and a superb art program,” he said.

He added that Washburn will welcome 400 freshman in the fall — the largest class the school has seen in years.

The district says it will continue to work to educate students and staff about appropriate behaviors and cultural competency.

There will be a restorative justice circle with Washburn students to specifically address the use of inappropriate racial terms.

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