Hundreds of Albany High School students staged a sit-in to protest the return of a group of students suspended over their Instagram page, sparking chaos on the California campus. The returning students allegedly mocked the weight, appearance, and race of their fellow classmates.
The students held signs, which read “We Won’t Stand for Racism,” during the sit-in and chanted various related phrases during the 3-hour protest, according to a SF Gate report. Instead of forcing the students back to class or suspending them for skipping school, the California public high school instead canceled classes for the remainder of the day.
“I want them to face what they did and the effect they’ve had on the community,” Tenzin Norsang, who had a sister targeted by what he deems an offensive meme by the students who have been dubbed real life Mean Girls. “My sister and her friends, those photos really affected them.”
The Instagram page posts by the group of suspended students allegedly included photos of a KKK member, a torch, and a black doll. Some, if not many, of the students involved in the Albany High School sit-in felt the suspended students had not been punished enough for their off-campus social media posts, the Daily Mail notes. The students were reportedly suspended for several days from the California public school.
— Chuck Clifford (@chuckclifford) March 30, 2017
Some of the students suspended from the California high school were also allegedly involved in making multiple anti-Semitic physical gestures, including engaging in the Nazi salute. The posts to the Instagram page have now been deleted.
Amber Jones, another alleged victim of the social media account by the suspended students, said tension at the school increased upon their return because the students involved in the allegedly racist and mean posts did not seem remorseful for their actions. Some of the Albany High School sit-in protesters reportedly surrounded the vehicles of the suspended students as they tried to leave the campus.
“I’ve lived in Albany all my life, and it’s pretty crazy to see this finally happening because this is one of the most liberal towns in America. It’s really just the internet culture and kids become too desensitized,” Nate Sanders, an Albany High School student, told local reporters.
The California high school has about a 1,200 student population. School officials first learned about the Instagram account on March 20. Initially, the administrators felt only a small group of friends were involved in posting on the social media page but the photos and messages soon became widespread.
Posted at Albany High School today. Rally today at 3:45. All in response to a student created racist Instagram account. pic.twitter.com/6u7xpsu4Ty
— Amy Hollyfield (@amyhollyfield) March 31, 2017
The high school basketball coach was also reportedly a target of the posters to the Instagram page. The district superintendent, Valerie Williams, told the press she does indeed believe racism exists within the California public schools she oversees. Williams believe bullying, homophobia, transphobia, and misogyny are also present at Albany High School and other buildings in the district.
“Their parents have not come to the board meeting which was four hours of public comment of people in Albany sharing their experiences about racism that are very similar to this,” Alexandra Campbell Jones, a parent of a student at the school, said during an interview with ABC 7. “And the pattern of the district and the Albany Police Department sweeping these incidents under the rug, do we need to find one of our children hanging from these trees for people to take this seriously, this is not a joke.”
The reference to a hanging noose referenced fears which were expressed after a rope was spotted at a park across from the school. After a quick investigation, it was revealed by school officials that the rope was not a noose or a racist threat at all, but an attachment for a swing in the process of being built.
[Featured Image by Romanets/Shutterstock]