'Racist' online chat probed by exclusive private school south of Calgary
Pictures purporting to show one side of the conversation over Snapchat were widely shared on social media
An exclusive private school in Okotoks, just south of Calgary, is investigating after an online discussion between two Grade 9 students featuring racist language became public and sparked a petition calling on officials to take action.
Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School is investigating what it calls a "highly inappropriate online discussion" between two Grade 9 students.
In a letter to alumni, the school says the incident happened on social media off campus and outside of school hours.
"This conversation involved highly offensive language that included racist comments and comments about physical appearance and mental wellness," the school said in a letter to alumni.
Pictures purporting to show one side of the conversation over Snapchat were widely shared on social media.
"Ur an annoying black girl and nobody likes black people especially the fat ones," says one of the messages.
"…I'd be ashamed to have that type of skin it's hideous," part of another message reads.
In an email to CBC News, a spokesperson for the school says it is taking the situation seriously and is working with the families of the two students.
"School administration is working tirelessly to do a thorough and comprehensive investigation before passing any judgment," said Lara Unsworth.
"Due to the highly sensitive nature of this issue, and the age of the minors involved, the school will not be able to share specifics about the incident, or the outcome. Any discipline measures taken will be based upon evidence and will reflect the school's values of integrity, kindness, responsibility, respect, service, and safety."
The students involved are not being identified as they're under age 18.
The school says it's unfortunate that the matter became widely distributed on social media.
"Debating publicly without facts does not help, it only adds stress and misunderstanding," the notice to alumni said.
An online petition has been started asking for the school to "take appropriate action."
"We ask you all to sign this petition so that proper measures can be taken in order to prevent this from occurring again, as well as make sure that this person does not remain unpunished," the petition says.
It has already surpassed its goal of 500 signatures.