KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WKRC/KMBC/CNN Newsource) - School district leaders reacted with swift condemnation after a group of students posted racist comments online.
"It doesn't matter their intent, the impact is real," said the principal of the school, Dr. Kerrie Herron. "The impact is being felt, the hurt is real and there."
Faculty and staff members learned recently that a petition to "bring back slavery" was circulating online amongst students. Soon, screenshots began to surface of petition comments students had made, such as "I hate blacks," and "I love slavery."
District leaders have heard from many parents since the incident happened on Friday.
"It varies from anger, to fear, to frustration, to disbelief," said Terri Deayon, the district's director of diversity and inclusion.
The district is 67% white. While staff receive diversity training, currently students don't get any.
"We don't have anything formal, as far as like a standardized cultural sensitivity training or anything like that," said Dr. Deayon. "Those are definitely things that I would love to see in the future."
The district plans to hold a listening tour in response to the incident.
Officials and parents are pleased that students were the first to call out the racist comments.
"Students brought it to our attention right away. The reporting culture is working," said Dr. Herron.
However, they say, there is still clearly a need for change.
"This incident just further confirms the necessity, the need for the work, and that we are headed in the right direction," said Dr. Deayon.
The district says it's not allowed to discuss disciplinary actions taken against students, but did provide a portion of its handbook saying that racially-centered issues like this do carry punishments.