Chaska High School has launched an investigation into another racism controversy, this time involving a student posting a video to TikTok wearing blackface.
The footage circulated on the social media video app over the weekend, with MPR reporting it showed two 10th graders dancing, one of them in blackface.
After the video spread, Chaska High Principal Jim Bach sent an email to parents in which he said: "To say that I am upset and disappointed is an incredible understatement."
He called on parents to educate their children regarding the racist history of blackface as the school continues its improvement after a series of racist incidents in recent years.
"If that work is going to be successful, I need your help. I need you to talk to your kids about how their words and actions impact those around them, for better and for worse," he wrote.
"Blackface is rooted in racism and has been used for decades to demean and dehumanize African-Americans. It’s not funny, in any context. It’s not acceptable, in any context. It is deeply harmful, and it is hurting members of our school community."
A recent history of racism
As mentioned, this is just the latest in a long line of controversial incidents at Chaska High School, several of which have involved blackface. They include:
- A photo of a student wearing blackface found in a high school yearbook.
- An image circulated on social media showing 25 black students superimposed on Google Maps with the locator labeled "Negro Hill."
- The N-word being written on one student's gym shirt.
- A number of students painting their faces black for a football game.
- A protest that was launched after students were not permitted to put up a series of posters marking Black History Month.
These incidents have led to calls from some parents for the school to address the "racist incidents and systemic inequities" in the district, including calling on Bach to be removed as principal.
A federal lawsuit filed this past September meanwhile accuses the Eastern Carver County Schools district of ignoring the racism seemingly endemic at the school.
The school district has not said what the punishment for the student involved in the latest video will be, though it's been noted that district rules allow for punishments as severe as expulsion.
"I want to be clear that blackface, or other racist acts, are not tolerated and students engaging in such acts will be subject to significant consequences," Bach said in his letter, obtained by BMTN.
"As a district, we are committed to creating safe, welcoming, and inclusive environments for each of our students. In our high school, that means we stand up for each other, we are accountable to each other, and we do what’s right.
"We are one Hawk family, and when any of us is hurting, we’re all hurting. We have resources available for those who are struggling as a result of this incident. If your child needs someone to talk to, please have them reach out to their counselor."