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Election fallout surfacing in area schools

In the wake of national campaign rhetoric that was often labeled racist and xenophobic, some area school districts are dealing with an uptick of racially charged incidents following the presidential election.

Red Wing Public Schools Superintendent Karsten Anderson said the district is addressing verbal altercations and some rumours of graffiti.

“The Red Wing School District has a strong record providing equal educational opportunities for all students. During the past week, however, we have received some reports of verbal harassment based on race, color, and/or national origin,” Anderson said in a statement. “Building administrators are promptly addressing each report and taking appropriate action as necessary to address this inappropriate behavior.”

In addition, Anderson said school staff members are taking other steps to ensure that all students feel safe, respected and supported.

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“Secondary school teachers and administrators have discussed various issues with their students and/or parents. We will continue to implement positive behavioral interventions and help students establish positive relationships with others,” Anderson said.

Rumours of graffiti at Twin Bluff Middle School prompted an investigation. Anderson said Principal Chris Palmatier thoroughly searched the interior and exterior of the school grounds and found no signs of vandalism.

Although no reports were filed, it appears an unidentified citizen took actions to cover up graffiti found at the skatepark on Levee Road Friday morning.

A smattering of reports from other area school districts also give accounts of students of color being the targets of bullying within the past week.

“When students, staff members and parents work together to prevent acts of harassment and reinforce basic principles of kindness and mutual respect, the school and community prosper,” Anderson said in the statement. “Together, we will continue to work toward our vision of helping all students fulfill their potential and become respectful, responsible and productive citizens.”