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Washburn HS Racial Incident Cancels Parent Meeting, Community Still Stirring

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A symbol of racism in a Twin Cities high school led to a parent meeting being canceled over safety concerns.

Administrators at Washburn High School say four students hung a dark-colored doll from a noose in a school stairwell last week.

The incident was caught on school surveillance video and students took pictures.

Those involved have been punished. The school district wouldn't give details on how the students were disciplined, but several students said one boy was expelled and a girl had been suspended.

Still, the controversy is growing.

"I see this as a form of racial bullying," said K.G. Wilson, a community activist.

Said community member Al Flowers: "If you see the pictures, that's a big concern. We're just concerned. It's just about racial sensitivity."

The group wasn't allowed in any further than the doorway, but community members still voiced their concern in an impromptu meeting.

"That represents a lot of hate, brutality and violence," said Ralph Crowder, whose son attends Washburn High. "I think it's been taken very lightly."

Racial sensitivity wasn't solved in a matter of minutes, but parents left with the promise of continued discussion.

"I love the public school, so whatever we can do to make it right, we have to make it right," Flowers said. "And be sensitive to each other."

A half-dozen students said the people involved weren't intending to make a racial statement.

"I know the people that did it and I know they didn't mean it like people have been taking it," said Henry LaMere, a student. "It was just an idiotic thing. They would have done it if it was a purple baby. They would have done it if it was a white baby or any color baby. They were just acting on a whim."

Minneapolis Public Schools said they do not accept racial intolerance in their school district and are following the code of conduct to address the inappropriate behavior.

"We have 34,000 students in our district and we don't want one or two students to make this that this is what we are about," said Stan Alleyne, of Minneapolis Public Schools. "This is not what we are about as a district."

Minneapolis Public Schools will provide support for students with school counselors.

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