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Eugene 4J community takes stand against racist and threatening social media posts

Teachers, students, and community members gathered South Eugene High School Dec. 15 to stand against racist and threatening social media posts.
Melorie Begay
Teachers, students, and community members gathered outside South Eugene High School Dec. 15 to stand against racist and threatening social media posts.

Dozens of people gathered outside two Eugene high schools Wednesday in solidarity against racial harassment and threats against students.

The gatherings outside North and South Eugene High Schools were in response to social media posts targeting students of color. The posts included racial slurs and threatening language.

South Eugene High School Spanish teacher Elle Sabala says all students deserve to feel safe.

“I hope that our community is one that responds with love and support, tolerance and acceptance,” she said. “But at the same time, we don’t just put our head in the sand and pretend that it doesn’t happen in Eugene, because it does, it happens everywhere.”

The Eugene 4J School District denounced the posts in an email from 4J Superintendent Cydney Vandercar to parents on Dec. 13. Vandercar offered support to Black and Indigenous students of color.

"The district has worked with law enforcement to investigate these incidents, identify the people responsible where possible, and take appropriate follow-up actions. While investigations take time and we are limited in the information we can share, the schools have communicated to families and worked to support students in each case. None of the posts have been found to pose a credible threat to school safety," Vandercar wrote.

Vandercar also encouraged students to "speak up when they see or hear something that is hateful, hurtful, or a possible threat of harm to themselves or others" by contacting the school administration or by making a report through safeoregon.com or by calling 1-844-4SAFE-OR.

Copyright 2021 KLCC

Melorie Begay is a multimedia journalist for KLCC News. She was the Inaugural KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She has a bachelors in Multimedia Journalism from the University of New Mexico. She previously interned at KUNM public radio in Albuquerque, NM and served as a fellow for the online news publication New Mexico In Depth.