State police are working with the Appoquinimink School District on an investigation about a racist post which appeared recently on social media.
Superintendent Matt Burrows on Feb. 6 made a post on the district’s website to parents, saying the district was made aware of the post which contained a “reference to the KKK, cross burning, and Appoquinimink.”
“Racism has no place in our schools or society. We are outraged at this attempt to link our students and school to discriminatory, intolerant and racially insensitive expression,” he wrote.
“With the help of law enforcement, we will do everything in our power to find the individuals responsible for this hateful behavior. If students are found to be involved, we will pursue action (including expulsion) as outlined in our student code of conduct,” he wrote.
The post, obtained by the Middletown Transcript, appeared recently on Instagram. It talks about a “white student union” and asks for support for “a cross burning ceremony” at the “practice fields behind appo.”
State police spokesman Master Cpl. Michael Austin confirmed that the police are investigating the case. More information will be released when it becomes available, he said.
Besides condemning the post, Burrows in his letter said, “This incident has challenged us to re-examine what we’re doing to encourage students to confront racial and ethnic injustice, and prepare them to live and work together in a diverse world.”
“As parents and educators, we may be uncomfortable talking about race, but we cannot afford to be silent. Students pay attention to everything we say and do. They particularly pay attention to our silence,” he wrote.
“So I would like to ask you to join us in having a conversation with your student this evening about bullying, discriminatory, intolerant and/or hurtful speech. We want the message out there that these individuals do not share the beliefs and values of our community,” he wrote.
In the coming days and weeks, the district will be “developing a strategic plan to fight hate and intolerance – one that challenges us to go further than ever before to educate students about racial injustice, confront biases, and encourage tolerance, diversity and respect in our school community. If you’d like to be involved, I encourage you to contact me,” he wrote.
Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact Detective Torres of the state police at 302-449-3849.
Lilian Miles, district spokeswoman, said in a Feb. 9 email that, “at this point, no one is even sure if it is an adult or youth – today’s technology means that this post may not even have originated from someone who lives in our District.”
She also said that several parents have expressed their appreciation at the district’s openness.