This week, students at Irondale High School, minutes north of Minneapolis, discovered a wooden placard in a basement classroom reading “The KKK wants you!” It’s yet another in the apparently endless string of racist incidents that have taken place around the country since Donald Trump’s election.
The tile also featured the image of a hooded Klansman— a seeming riff on the iconic Uncle Sam military recruitment posters.
In an email to Fusion, Mounds View school district spokesperson Colin Sokolowski said the students who found the message immediately reported it to school officials.
“We have identified the individual responsible,” Sokolowski explained. “And we’re dealing with the student appropriately
According to Sokolowski, Irondale has also taken specific steps to address racism in the school community in recent days, including:
- Honest dialogue sessions attended by approximately 300 students, in which small groups of 20-30 people discussed race, equality, and inclusiveness.
- An effort by the school’s Black Student Union members to plaster hallway walls with messages of inclusion and positivity.
- Student greeters who met classmates with “warm, friendly welcome[s]” as the arrive on Friday morning.
According to the most recent data available from the Department of Education, white students outnumber black students at Irondale by a ratio over 5-to-1.
Irondale High School sits just miles east of Maple Grove High School, where overtly racist graffiti celebrating Donald Trump’s electoral victory was written in a bathroom stall earlier this month.
Days later, a second incident, this time in the nearby Minneapolis suburb of Spring Lake Park, again featured racist graffiti scrawled across a bathroom stall.
Despite the divisive recruitment message discovered in Irondale, Sokolowski reiterated the school’s commitment to diversity and inclusiveness.
“Our students’ positive voices have been louder and larger than the isolated handful of those who have tried to disrupt and divide our school with hurtful signs, words or actions,” he explained. “Our message as a school is united and clear: Irondale does not, and will not, tolerate harassment or hate speech of any kind.”