California students disciplined for racist social posts

SALINAS, Calif. (AP) — Several Northern California high school students have been disciplined after officials learned they posted online photos and videos of a Black baby doll being stomped on and driven over at a football game.

Salinas High School students created an Instagram account called “shaniqua.shs” for a Black doll named “Shaniqua” and uploaded images, some of them with racist captions, and videos of the doll being brutalized. The account has since been deleted but screenshots and recordings of the page continue to circulate on social media.

School officials became aware of the images — some of them taken at a football game last week — and immediately launched an investigation, Salinas Union High School District Superintendent Dan Burns said.

“The investigation into the anti-black racism incident at Salinas High School has resulted in disciplinary action for those who were directly responsible for both the doll and the social media account that is at the root of this situation,” Burns said in a statement Thursday.

The statement didn’t say how many students were involved or what discipline they received, citing state law. But during a packed school board meeting Tuesday, he said those students would face consequences including possible suspension from school.

Jennifer Allen, who has two daughters attending Salinas High School, asked the school board to hold the students accountable.

“What is most appalling is that clearly racist behavior such as this is part of a disturbing pattern at Salinas High School, behavior that has gone unpunished and unaddressed,” said Allen, who is Black, calling it “targeted and predetermined behavior that took place on school grounds.”

Students of various ethnicities were involved, the superintendent said, without offering any other details. The student body at the high school in the Salinas Valley is more than 70% Latino; 21.5% is white; and only 1% of the students at the school are African American, according to state data.

“We understand that the public is seeking more answers about all of the involved parties and the punishments doled out,” he said in the statement. Marco Cabrera, a spokesman for the school district, said Friday the superintendent had no comment beyond the statements the district has released.

Siena Zuniga, a student at Alisal High School, told the board she was excited to be at the football game last week but that the night was overshadowed by the racist actions of the students and the fact that Salinas High School staff and security did nothing to stop them.

“The truly sickening action from that night is the lack of action by Salinas High School employees, administrators and campus security,” Zuniga told the board.

Burns said a third party will review how school officials handled the incident and that the district would look deeper into the root causes of the students’ behavior.

“Let’s also not forget that those who have been identified as being involved are children, many between the ages of 15-17. That does not excuse their conduct, but is a reminder that beyond school punishments, they too need support and opportunities to learn and grow,” he said in a statement earlier this week.

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