Racist message found at Irondale High School

This tile was found outside a basement classroom at Irondale High School in New Brighton Nov. 11. According to the Mounds View school district, student responsible received “strong, swift disciplinary action.”

Students entering a basement classroom at New Brighton’s Irondale High School found a small wooden tile with a message that read: “The KKK wants you.” 

According to Colin Sokolowski, spokesperson for Mounds View Public Schools, the students who found the small placard on Nov. 11 reported it to school staff and it was immediately removed.

Sokolowski said the student who was responsible for the incident was identified and has become the recipient of “strong, swift disciplinary action.”

“Irondale does not, and will not, tolerate harassment or hate speech of any kind,” the school wrote in a statement. 

The statement listed positive efforts that Irondale, which Sokolowski said is about 60 percent white and 40 percent non-white, has been implementing. Those efforts include:

• On Nov. 18, some 300 students participated in the school’s Talking Circles initiative. With the support of staff, students joined small group conversations of about 20-30 students and engaged in open and honest dialogue with one another. Topics included race, equality and inclusiveness.

• The school’s staff and advisers have met frequently with student groups to discuss the school’s climate around race issues. Deans have been working individually with students who have needed additional support.

• Throughout the school’s halls, dozens of signs sharing positive messages appear. These are the work of the school’s Black Student Union members, who felt it was important to help unite the school with their “Walls of Positive Messages.”

• As students entered school on Nov. 18, all were greeted by a group of students who wanted to offer a warm, friendly welcome.

“All of these positive efforts far overshadow some of the negativity experienced by so many schools and colleges around the state and nation,” the school said in a written statement. “Our students’ positive voices have been louder and larger than the isolated handful of those who have tried to disrupt and divide our school with hurtful signs, words or actions.”


Other reports

According to various reports, a variety of racist incidents occurred in the days following the election of President-elect Donald Trump. 

Racist messages were found on school property at Spring Lake Park High School and Maple Grove High School earlier this month. Both incidents involved graffiti written in girls bathrooms.


Jesse Poole can be reached at jpoole@lillienews.com or at 651-748-7815.


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