Anonymous racist and hateful messages sent to students of color via Instagram in White Bear Lake were a "hoax," the district's superintendent said this week.
The messages prompted student protests and a walkout at White Bear Lake's South Campus last week.
But it turns out a student anonymously created the fake Instagram account and sent messages to other students, White Bear Lake Superintendent Wayne Kazmierczak said in a note to families.
The female student who created the anonymous Instagram account did so to raise awareness of social and racial injustice due to past incidents at the school, an April 14 news release from the City of White Bear Lake says.
Officials worked with the FBI to identify the student involved, with the release noting it hasn't yet been determined if other people were involved in creating the posts. The investigation is ongoing.
"We shared this information with the school district and added that the investigating officers believe the juvenile does not pose a physical threat," the city's news release said.
"Nevertheless, the postings have caused tangible fear and alarm throughout our community," the city continued. "It is critical to acknowledge the importance of these conversations related to racial equity and justice affixed to this incident, and to commit to ongoing dialogue that leads to meaningful outcomes."
In another message to families on Wednesday, Kazmierczak apologized for using the word "hoax," saying in no way did he intend to "minimize the impact that racism or racist acts has on students and families who have been marginalized throughout history and in White Bear Lake Area Schools."
"We commit to doing better in the future, as we realize the heartfelt pain that families have shared after reading the statement," the message said.