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Richmond school responds to ‘shocking’ and ‘offensive’ Snapchat involving student

Posted: 4:48 PM, Jan 13, 2020
Updated: 2020-01-13 17:26:47-05
Richmond school responds to ‘shocking’ and ‘offensive’ Snapchat involving student

RICHMOND, Va. -- A student will be disciplined following the investigation of an "offensive" and racist Snapchat shared on social media on Thursday, according to Saint Gertrude High Head of School Sister Cecilia Dwyer.

The photo shows a person wearing the mask of a CPR manikin with the "N" word captioned below. The person is wearing the uniform of the private all-girls Catholic school located in the Museum District.

"To have something this disrespectful happen is shocking. I know I was shocked when I saw it," Dwyer explained. "We are trying to get to the bottom of how it happened and how it evolved."

The photo has since been shared more than a thousand times.

Former students, like Taylor Moore, have commented that the student involved should face expulsion.

"It just shocks me that that was never my experience there and it’s happening now is really disheartening," Moore stated. "I think there’s a valuable lesson that serious actions have serious consequences. I’m praying for the school and the administrator make the right decisions."

Brittany Hough, a 2008 graduate of Saint Gertrude, said she was shocked and saddened after hearing about the incident at the school she loves so dearly.

“I have so many memories of togetherness and camaraderie during my high school career that I am really at a loss for words that something this awful would happen within those walls,” said Hough. “This isn’t a joke. It’s 2020, times are different, and THIS ISN’T OKAY.”

Sister Dwyer said Richmond Police officers were at the school on Monday following a threat to a student that was posted on social media.

"It was a threat of violence to the student itself," she recalled. "We did send it to the police and they’re trying to trace it. They offered us extra protection."

Sister Dwyer sent the following email to parents and students after the incident:

Dear Members of the SGHS Community,

At Saint Gertrude, it is our expectation that all members of the community embody the values and high moral character set forth by our Benedictine Order and our Catholic faith, including treating each member of our community with dignity and respect.

This morning we became aware of some deeply troubling and racially insensitive imagery involving current students making its way through our community via social media. Such offensive and inappropriate content is a clear violation not only of our school policies, but also the principles and values on which our school was founded. I want to emphasize as strongly as possible that this type of behavior will not be tolerated at Saint Gertrude.

I want to assure you we are looking into this matter to determine its source and address the situation appropriately, in accordance with our code of conduct, our policies, and our values. I ask that all parents discuss with their children the critical importance of respecting others, the dangers related to posting on social media, and the far-reaching consequences for both the perpetrator and those targeted by damaging racial incidents.

While we work to resolve this matter, we must remember to seek solace through our faith and through one another. I ask that we continue to work together, as a community, to promote an inclusive and nurturing environment—one devoid of hate or discrimination—where every student can learn and grow through God’s grace.

Thank you for your continued support. Please do not hesitate to contact me or Assistant Head of School Amy Pickral if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Sister Cecilia Dwyer, OSB

Head of School