The Centennial School District has taken “appropriate action” after anti-Asian texts surfaced.
Last week, a student at Centennial High School (CHS) shared a string of text messages sent to her by two other CHS students. The texts included things like, “annoying chink; your useless, send your dad back to Hong Kong” along with other swear words and slurs.
Centennial Students for Change, a student organized group that aims to raise awareness about racism in the community, posted a statement on its social media addressing the incident. “Unfortunately, this is the reality for many students of color at Centennial. The school has yet to make any systematic change in the past year to prevent racism before it happens. Many of us are angry and frustrated.”
The district sent out a lengthy statement authored by CHS Principal Tom Breuning and Superintendent Brian Dietz to Centennial families, which read in part, “We want to inform you that an incident involving racist comments was reported at CHS. Please know that we take these reports very seriously, have investigated the situation, and have taken the appropriate action. Centennial High School and the entire District does not tolerate racism.”
Breuning and Dietz then went on to remind Centennial students and their families of the three pillars of success, which represent the district’s expectations — character, academics and integrity.
“We want to create an environment where everyone is welcomed, respected, supported and held to the standard that we treat each other the way we want to be treated. When that doesn’t happen, we do not hesitate to investigate and take immediate, appropriate action. Words have meanings and consequences. Harassment, bullying and racially charged statements will not be tolerated.”
The district would not comment on whether a student, or students, were expelled as a result of the incident. As of press time, CHS students planned a walkout for the morning of March 29.
Centennial Students for Change also created a list of action items on its social media page “to make sure something like this never happens again.” Some of those action items include the reporting system, re-education, speaking out when something isn’t right and continuing to support people of color and amplify their voices.
Centennial Students for Change wrote, “Unfortunately, this is the reality for many students of color at Centennial … It’s going to take a lot of work to change Centennial. We have seen former graduates say it’s been this way for years. People have brought up these issues in the past and have been brushed aside. It’s going to take persistence from us, the students, to better the school for future students.”
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