School Discovers Students Participating In A Virtual ‘Slave Trade’
Another ‘virtual slave trade’ has surfaced in a US school, with students sending photos of classmates and racial slurs.
Earlier this year, administrators discovered pupils in Daniel Ninth Grade Campus in Aledo, Texas, had been participating in a ‘slave trading game’ where they’d attach prices to Black classmates and pretend to sell them, while also using ‘racially-charged’ language.
Newberg High School has since discovered students taking part in a similar Snapchat group, also titled ‘Slave Trade’, in which they joked about how much they’d pay for Black students. It came as the school was set to discuss a ban on Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+ and other ‘controversial political symbols’.
Principal Tami Erion has confirmed the existence of the racist group chat, in which students sent photos of other pupils and used racial and homophobic slurs. It’s said to have originated in Michigan last year, later making its way to Oregon.
Screenshots from the group obtained by KGW News show messages such as ‘All Blacks should die’ and ‘Let’s have another holocaust’.
‘While the investigation is still ongoing and we cannot comment on the specifics, we want to reassure our community that as we always do, we are following board policy as it relates to harassment, bullying and potential disciplinary actions. We are deeply dismayed that this behaviour and activity was exhibited by someone from our community,’ Erion said in a statement.
‘We condemn actions such as these which represent the antithesis of what we believe and where we stand as a Newberg Nation family. As a community, we continue to grapple with issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
‘Newberg High School is committed to ensuring that ALL students are afforded a safe learning environment by prohibiting harassment based upon gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion or disability.’
Barbara Smith Warner, Oregon House Majority Leader and chair of the Education House Committee, said, ‘Incidents like this are exactly what make Black students feel like their lives don’t matter… once again, we urge the board to do what is right and rescind the ban on Black Lives Matter and Pride signs, and refocus on creating a safe, welcoming environment for students.’
Residents have been critical of the school’s ban on Pride and BLM paraphernalia, with Warner saying the board’s directors have ’emboldened and legitimised this type of behaviour’ from students.
Heide Pender, the mother of a Black student at the school, said, ‘For her to have adults who are in charge of her school district say teachers are not allowed to tell you that your life matters is very confusing and a very hurtful message for her.’
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