Racist Snapchat message being investigated at Edwardsville High School

Published: May. 26, 2023 at 7:06 PM CDT
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EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (KMOV) - The end of the school year and beginning of summer did not end the way Edwardsville High School parent Nya B would have hoped for.

“I just truly believe it was downplayed tremendously, and here we are,” said Nya B. “One I kept [my son] home.”

The decision comes after her freshman son shared a Snapchat message he received Thursday afternoon from a student in the district.

“He says, ‘Well, there’s a girl who hasn’t been in school for a while. Rumor has it that she’s feeling depressed, and then some people started another rumor saying she committed suicide, but today she sends out a snap to everyone that’s kind of in our class’,” said Nya. “So, I say, ‘Well, what’s the Snap?’ So, he brings it to me and shows it. And I say, ‘You need to take that seriously.’”

News 4 covered up the Snapchat handle and the racist words sent in the chat, but you can see some of the remaining derogatory language and a gun emoji pointed at a Black person’s face.

“This is how a lot of mass shootings happen, and I’m not really okay with this type of language,” said Nya. “To Black people, those are threatening words.”

After sharing the screenshot with the school and expressing her concerns, she says the district was able to identify who may have sent the post. However, she says nothing else came of it.

“Here it’s noon, and I haven’t heard anything, so I emailed the principal again, and I said, ‘Hey, what’s the follow-up, what’s the status’,” said Nya. “They’re saying, ‘You said this was sent to other students. We haven’t had a chance to interview the other students. Who are the other students?’ So at this point, I’m like, ‘You guys are questioning my son’s reality.’”

A spokesperson for Edwardsville Community Unit District 7 sent News 4 the following statement:

“The alleged racist snapchat was reported to administration this morning, and along with the Edwardsville Police Department, we are in the middle of investigating this incident. These instances undermine the inclusive and welcoming environment District #7 strives to create for all students, teachers and staff. We want every member of District #7 to feel safe, valued and supported within our school community.”

“If my son was to send something like that, he’d be expelled by now. We’d be at police stations. He’d be in handcuffs. I’m just, I’m over it,” said Nya.

Nya B said she wants to see swifter action from school leaders on these types of incidents.

“Threats against your life or any type of emojis that show, ‘Hey, we’re going to put a gun to your head and do whatever.’ We don’t know what’s true or not, and racism is real,” said Nya.

She also wants to make sure those who may be suffering through mental health struggles are heard.

“For them to be able to take those children and do some real work with them as opposed to keeping them amongst everyone else who wants to come to school and learn and have a safe environment,” she said.