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District 155 investigates racial social media comment posted by Crystal Lake Central High School student

Crystal Lake-based School District 155 Board file photo
Crystal Lake-based School District 155 Board file photo

CRYSTAL LAKE – Community High School District 155 administrators are investigating a racially charged comment posted on a Crystal Lake Central High School student’s Instagram account.

In a letter sent to Central High School parents Friday, Principal Eric Ernd announced administrators were looking into a “disappointing” comment made on social media and assured parents the school “will take necessary action.”

A girl posted the comment Thursday on her “Finstagram” – a fake Instagram account created to share photos with a more exclusive group of followers – to ask “why the whole entire population of Mexico” attends her school.

“... Some don’t even speak English ... like our school sends busses to other towns soooo far away to pick them up and bring them to our school but people being bullied can’t transfer schools even if they can transport themselves?” the comment read.

The full statement posted online included derogatory names toward Mexican people and claimed 15 Mexican students were suspended for dealing drugs on school property.

Former Central student, 18-year-old Carlos Espinoza, posted a screenshot of the comment, which he called ignorant, on Twitter. Espinoza’s post had received 529 re-tweets and 1,700 hearts as of Friday evening.

“I saw it and it really upset me, and I wanted to share this with people to let them know this was going around school,” Espinoza said. “I feel like a lot of people are upset about it.”

District 155 director of communications Shannon Podzimek declined to comment on whether administrators have spoken to the student about the comment. Podzimek cited a district policy barring employees from discussing individual disciplinary matters.

The district’s handbook outlines policies regarding bullying, harassment and investigations into students’ online posts.

The girl’s Instagram account was disabled, and her Twitter profile was set to private Friday evening.

Several people commented on Espinoza’s tweet expressing plans to email school and district officials about the situation.

“We are aware of an inappropriate social media post shared by a Central student Thursday evening. Please know Central’s administration is investigating the incident and will take necessary action to ensure our students are safe, respected and accepted,” Ernd said in the letter to parents. “This post is disappointing, as we pride ourselves as being inclusive. This one post does not represent or define our student body, and this behavior will not be tolerated.”

The student’s comment might have been in reference to a District 155 program that transports students from the district’s other high schools to Central, where they take additional classes for a portion of the day, Espinoza said.

“I’d like for her to be reprimanded,” Espinoza said. “I’d like for the teachers to actually do something about it.”

After tweeting a picture of the comment, Espinoza began receiving threats on other social media platforms, he said.

“I’m not going to stoop to their level ... fighting isn’t going to solve anything,” Espinoza said.

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