Salinas High School in Salinas, California is facing criticism from parents and students after racist images and videos involving students and a doll circulated in the community.
An Instagram account called Shaniqua.shs was created, showcasing videos and images of a Black doll they had named “Shaniqua.” The account was eventually deactivated, but not before amassing 70 followers and 37 posts, many of which continued to circulate online via screenshots.
As KSBW reports, numerous students from the school participated in racist chants and stomped on the doll at a football event on Friday, Aug. 20. Cheerleaders and other students posed for photos with the doll, and a video of the whole incident went viral. “They drew crosses on the eyes, they put a bandana around her neck, and was spinning her around and they put an ankle monitor, and it’s just really disgusting,” Salinas High School senior Julian Henderson told WBAL.
On Tuesday, Aug. 24, students and parents went to a school board meeting to express their concern and disappointment over the incident, per KION. “I’m being targeted for living, for being a black girl when I’m just like everyone else,” a member of the SUHSD Black Girl Magic Club said, per The Voices of Monterey.
The board ultimately condemned the creation of the Instagram site as well as the incident at the football game.
“Students who instigated this incident by bringing a doll to class and those responsible for creating racist Instagram sites,” said SUHSD superintendent Dan Burns. “They face consequences that include, but are not limited to suspension of school, removal from extracurricular activities which include athletics and ASB. They will be required to have mandatory attendance in restorative justice and healing sessions.”
In a subsequent statement released on Wednesday, Aug. 25, Burns affirmed that a student had been disciplined for their involvement in the incident. “Student disciplinary consequences for students in this incident will be administered in accordance with CA Ed Code,” he said, per the Mercury News. He clarified that the student who was disciplined and initiated the racism was not a cheerleader or a member of any athletic team at the school, although anyone who was involved could lose certain extra-curricular privileges.
A Change.org petition titled “addressing the racism at shs” was created, and had received over 15,000 signatures at the time of writing.