The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, an Indigenous tribal nation located in Minnesota, is demanding action after a disturbing threat was posted by local teenagers on Snapchat.
As reported by Star Tribune, a student from Esko High School and another from Cloquet High School exchanged messages expressing a desire for the Cloquet school to be bombed so that "all Natives die."
About 14% of the students in Cloquet public schools are Indigenous.
The unnamed teenagers went on to make further racist comments about Indigenous people.
Fond du Lac Chairman Kevin Dupuis Sr. wrote a letter to the superintendents of the schools, which read:
"We are horrified and saddened by the ignorant and racist statements of students from schools where many of our Native youth attend."
"We want to receive an immediate response from the school districts and school leadership on how you intend to address this situation, not only with the specific students involved in the incident but also with the larger student body community."
Cloquet superintendent Michael Cary issued an apology for the posts and said:
"[The Snapchat incident] will lead to appropriate disciplinary action, individualized education targeting these racist beliefs, and restorative practices to address the harms caused by ignorance."
Esko superintendent Aaron Fischer offered a similar apology and statement:
"In addition to addressing the offenders, we will renew our ongoing efforts to build a culturally competent school community free of intolerance, ignorance and hate."
According to the American Psychological Association, racism is a learned behavior.
Since the offenders are not adults, people questioned where they learned their racism.
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Authorities are also dealing with similar incidents in Edina, New Prague, Minnetonka, Prior Lake and the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District.
Fortunately, APA studies suggest racist behaviors and beliefs can be unlearned.
"Although it’s important to start teaching anti-bias messages as early as possible, it’s also valuable for children to understand that racist beliefs don’t have to be permanent."
"Our preliminary research suggests that seeing prejudice as something that can change gets kids to stay interested in interacting across racial lines because it lowers the stakes that any mistakes they make will be a blemish that stays there forever.”