Deplorable teens will be deplorable teens, but an East Bay school district has drawn the line at racism and veiled threats of violence. You may recall the saga of 13 Albany High School students disciplined for racist Instagram posts that specifically targeted specific African-American students at the school as well as one (also African-American) girls basketball team coach. Some of the disciplined students had added additional deplorable commentary, and some had just clicked Like on the posts. But NBC Bay Area reports that the Albany Unified School District Board of Education has expelled the student who originally posted the racist images.
The board's decision was not unanimous, and according to the East Bay Times they debated the topic for a total of for 18-and-a-half hours. Wednesday’s meeting on the matter was the board’s third of three meetings, and was not held publicly.
This KRON 4 video shows some of the racist images posted, which SFist will link to but not embed. I’m usually not a big “trigger warning” person, but the nooses, klansman hoods, and other nauseating imagery in the posts are a little much to bear.
What we will include from that report are the comments of one Albany High father whose daughter was individually ridiculed and targeted in the posts. “We expect our children to be in a safe and welcoming environment when they’re at school. It’s not as simple as a First Amendment right,” Lerond Mallard told KRON 4. “You may say what you want, but there’s consequences with what you say.”
The expelled student, a junior, has lawyered up (or at least the parents have). "We feel that it is illegal, in violation of my client’s First Amendment rights and the California Education Code," their attorney Cate Beekman told NBC Bay Area.
"I know some people have characterized it as a hate crime, as discrimination; it’s neither of those things," Beekman continued. "I understand people’s feelings are hurt or offended, but that’s precisely what the First Amendment exists to protect." She also argues that Instagram activity is not under the school district’s jurisdiction.
But the inclusion of nooses and torches in the images debatably constitutes a threat. Moreover, the expelled student is not kicked out of the district, and can apply to another high school within that district.
Lerond Mallard’s daughter made the nine-minute video below documenting her experience as well as a few the other students of color targeted by the posts.
Related: Cupertino Teens Accused Of Creating A 'Kill List' Targeting African-American Classmates