Many students, parents and faculty at Fitchburg High School in Massachusetts have been left shocked and disgusted following an incident in which students at the school created an Instagram account that depicted Black students as slaves.
The account, which was called @fhsslaves, only lasted 18 hours before it was discovered and reported to the platform as a hate crime. But that was long enough to rock the small New England community.
Students told local news station WCVB that the incident is particularly upsetting given how diverse the school is and how hard the administration works to make it an inclusive environment. See WCVB's report below.
Fitchburg High principal informs parents of 'slaves' Instagram page with photos of Black students youtu.be
The local police department in Fitchburg has launched an investigation after Fitchburg High School Principal Jeremy Roche notified them of the incident.
Roche also sent an email to parents at the school in which he decried the way cyberbullying of this nature undermines the school's efforts toward inclusion. He wrote:
"[T]hese types of social media sites serve to divide and tear apart the positive, welcoming, inclusive school culture that we are working so hard to create here at FHS.”
Speaking with WCVB, students echoed that sentiment, calling the incident "disturbing" and "disgusting." One student described how shocking they found the Instagram account.
“They’re taking pictures of Black people, posting them as slaves, and I’m like, OK Jesus. I don’t know who would do that, but it’s terrible.”
Another lamented at how the incident reflects upon Fitchburgh High School.
“It’s kind of embarrassing for us because we’re better than this."
On Twitter, people shared the students' disgust with the incident.
Massachusetts has seen an uptick in racist incidents in both public schools and on college campuses throughout the state, with several high-profile incidents capturing media tension in recent months. Though the state is becoming increasingly diverse, its school are among the most segregated in the nation.