Hate speech post spurs reaction at Ashland High School

Ashland High School officials sent out a campuswide statement condemning a social-media post they said contained hate speech after it was widely shared among students on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

The controversial post appeared Monday on Snapchat, a social-media platform that allows users to post pictures and videos that will disappear after 24 hours. School officials became aware of the post Tuesday and “are working with family and the student to find a solution,” Ashland High School Principal Erika Bare said.

A statement condemning the post was sent out via email to families and posted online on the school district website.

Bare declined to share any information about the post but said it wasn’t considered to be threatening. Ashland police Chief Tighe O’Meara said police weren’t notified about the incident.

“We are trying to do anything we can to make our students feel safe in school,” Bare said, adding the school is ready to roll out an Oregon State Police tip line program that would allow students to anonymously report harassment and bullying as soon as next week.

The program, SafeOregon, debuted last year and is available free of charge to all Oregon public schools. Students, parents and faculty could report through SafeOregon.com, by email at [email protected], or through voice and text service at 844-472-3367.

Bare declined to say whether the school would take any disciplinary action against the student, but noted in her written statement that “any student found responsible for disrupting the educational environment by using, spreading or allowing hate speech will face disciplinary consequences.”

Ashland School District was highlighted at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration in Ashland for implementing an equity, diversity and inclusion plan that will add a designated part-time coordinator, provide staff with cultural agility training and improve the school’s curriculum to raise student awareness.

O’Meara said in a recent interview that Ashland has seen an increase in hate speech since the 2016 elections. Flyers that said “It’s OK to be white” were spotted in Ashland several times last year.



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