Originally published March 11, 2022
EDINA, Minn. (WCCO) -- Now to another racist incident involving high school students here in the metro. This time, it involves Edina High School students.
A video of several students surfaced earlier this week on social media targeting Asian and Jewish communities. Edina High School senior Louisa Darr saw it for herself on Monday.
"Just making Asian accents and there's another kid who does a hail Hitler sign, but it's so clear what they're doing," Darr said. "I walk into school the next day after watching a video of you making fun of an accent that my mom has? It's the worst feeling in the world."
"I mean my heart dropped when I saw the video," said Lily Tung Crystal, artistic director at Theater Mu in St. Paul.
Darr just wrapped a show at Theater Mu about Asian feminist power.
"How we support is to speak out against these racist incidents," Crystal said. "There's a tenor of racism that's going on throughout the Twin Cities region against marginalized communities and that only feeds into the violence that can occur against these marginalized communities."
In a letter to families and staff, the superintendent of Edina public schools said:
"We understand the hurt this has caused in our community, especially among our Asian and Jewish members. There is no place for this kind of action or thinking in a community that is striving to be open and welcoming to all."
Advocates in the Asian and Jewish community said education is key.
"It begins with expectations that there's no place for racism, anti-semitism, the belittling of other people anywhere but particularly in a school setting, "said Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas. "People can always get better and we can always try to help them and teach them."
"Talk about the issue directly but also move through it and talk about the opportunities to work together to not have to have this experience again," said ThaoMee Xiong, executive and network director for the Coalition of Asian American Leaders. "I think the best anecdote to racial discrimination is to building community."
"It's more visible now because of social media," Darr said. "Yeah, this is nothing new."
For Darr, not enough has been done.
"It needs to be a mandatory school-wide discussion," Darr said. "I remember so vividly walking into one of my classes Tuesday and heading a group of boys next to me trying to rationalize it."
"I hate it when people go, Oh, they're kids, they do stupid stuff," Darr said. "It's not an excuse."
The superintendent told families that the school immediately investigated and applied consequences.
"Student discipline is private data and we cannot comment on specific outcomes except to say that district policies were followed," the superintendent said.
The district told WCCO it continued efforts this week to meet with students, families staff and administrators.
Full Letter To Families & Staff
for more features.