MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The attorney representing the Maple Grove Senior High student accused of writing racist graffiti in a school bathroom says her client is not the culprit and that he is facing expulsion on the "flimsiest of bases."
Andrea L. Jepsen, of The School Law Center, says that Osseo Area Schools is using the "sensitive and vulnerable" student identified as the vandal as a scapegoat in order to sweep the situation, which gained significant media attention, under the rug.
"The district violated [the student's] rights under the law, and inflicted terrible emotional damage on him, while missing the opportunity to find the real culprit," Jepsen wrote in a statement released Tuesday. "We believe that the district did so because it was very difficult to isolate the actual wrongdoer with any certainty, and bringing this matter to what the district believed would be a quick end was its highest priority."
The student stands accused of writing racist graffiti in the boys bathroom on Nov. 9, the day after Donald Trump won the presidency. Among the writings were "whites only" and racial epithets against African-Americans.
Days after the incident, Osseo Area School Superintendent Kate Maguire sent a message to families saying the graffiti vandal had been identified and punished following an extensive and thorough invsetigation. The student's name, however, was not released, nor were the details of the punishment.
Jepsen says that the student has yet to be punished and that even if he were the culprit, expulsion would be the wrong course of action, as it would deprive the student of the chance to show remorse or perform restitution.
Osseo Area Schools said Tuesday that due to data privacy laws it cannot comment on disciplinary matters involving the student.
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