Hopkins High School students walk out over racial tensions - FOX 35 News Orlando

Hopkins High School students walk out over racial tensions

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HOPKINS, Minn. (KMSP) -

Students say racial tension issues among staff members and administrators at Hopkins High School prompted a walk out on Friday, and the principal appears to be taking it seriously.

While the district isn't commenting much on what happened inside Hopkins High School, FOX 9 did confirm that listening sessions are being held with students, administrators and staff -- and that a third-party specialist trained in racial sensitivity curriculum has been brought in to help.

School ended quietly on Monday, but that's a far different scene from the one that was seen on Friday afternoon when more than 100 students walked out in protest of what they call racial inequality on campus.

"It was speaking up. It was a bunch of students getting up and saying, 'We need to have a conversation here,'" explained Grant Murphrey.

The event was captured by classmates in video and photos, which were then shared across social media. Their message was that teachers and administrators must do more to treat members of all backgrounds fairly.

"It's being more culturally sensitive -- more acceptable to others, understanding others," explained Malika Mousa, who helped organize the protest. "To have successful classrooms, you need to have that stuff."

Mousa and others pointed to several incidents in the school this year that have left minority students feeling mistreated, including an episode in February where members of the ski team apparently dressed up for something called "rapper" or "ghetto spirit" day. Some African American students took offense and ended up being charged with misdemeanors for fighting with administrators over the matter.

"Racism is everywhere," Mousa said. "So I wouldn't say, 'Oh, only Hopkins High School' … but there are certain things that happen to a certain person that is that certain race that makes look like it's racist. I just think there were culturally insensitive things that have been going on."

The district wouldn't make anyone available to FOX 9 News to speak on camera, but all sides say a positive conversation has begun.

"I wish that African American and Latino students could have better relationships with their teachers," said Nyjee Arradondo. "I see it play out in the classroom process, but I think it is something that we will get done."

The students involved in this story are all part of an extracurricular group at the school called "Dare to be Real." The multicultural organization had dissipated before a couple dozen students and some teachers looking to improve race relations resurrected it.

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