Community meeting held Wednesday over Washburn doll hanging - FOX 35 News Orlando

Community meeting over Washburn High School doll hanging gets heated

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  • Community meeting held in Washburn High School doll hangingMore>>

  • Washburn High School students hang dark-skinned doll, post pictures

    Washburn High School students hang dark-skinned doll, post pictures

    Thursday, January 17 2013 11:10 PM EST2013-01-18 04:10:57 GMT
    Washburn High School says school leaders are responding aggressively to an act of racial insensitivity after four students hung a dark-skinned baby doll by its neck and shared pictures online.
    The principal of Washburn High School says school leaders are responding aggressively to an act of racial insensitivity after a group of four students hung a dark-skinned baby doll by its neck with a piece of string on campus and shared pictures on social media.
MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

Minneapolis Public Schools held a packed community meeting on Wednesday in an attempt to foster positive and open dialogue about a recent incident where a dark-skinned baby doll was hung on campus.

The meeting began at 5 p.m. inside the Washburn High School auditorium, located at 201 W. 49th Street. All school district stakeholders, students, teachers, staff, elected officials and community members were invited to attend.

Officials say the incident took place on Jan. 11 at the school, and was captured on security cameras. Principal Carol Markham-Cousins learned about it the same day and took immediate action following the district's code of conduct.

While the district kept the discussion very focused and the dialogue remained respectful, there were certainly some heated moments. However, listening and letting various viewpoints out into the open were all part of the process -- and a pivotal point for helping students move forward.

"I feel honored to bring this before you today because we are going to face this, because it's racist and it's wrong," said Markham-Cousins as she set the stage for the discussion.

Markham-Cousins outlined her own anger and disappointment with the actions of the four students who were disciplined before hundreds of parents, teachers, community members and activists.

Many who spoke stressed the need for more discussions of racism and African American history both at school and at home, and the superintendent is already talking about possible changes to the curriculum.

By the end of the meeting, it was clear more healing still needs to take place, and several students called upon their classmates to apologize.

MPS worked with partners such as ISAIAH in fostering the dialogue, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that brings groups together to facilitate conversations about racial and economic equity in the state.

Officials have declined to specify what the students' punishments entailed, citing privacy laws.

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