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Iowa City West High School students shocked at racist social media posts

Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 6:16 PM CST
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Students at Iowa City West High School say they called off a protest Friday because of the potential threat of violence. The protest was in response to two racist social media posts made by students over the weekend.

Iowa City Schools Superintendent Matt Degner said one of the posts included a student appearing in blackface. He said the other was making a threat of racially motivated violence using an racial slur.

Joseph Polyak, a senior at West High, says he was shocked when he saw the posts.

“Not shocked in the way of “Oh god, how could this happen?” But more of, oh you are actively saying this, why are you doing that, this is very wrong,” he told TV-9.

Polyak and many other students have been demanding the school board address these posts.

“I would like the board to do more when addressing instances of racism within the school district,” said Polyak.

Iowa City School Board Member, Charlie Eastham says the leaders recognize the issues.

“My reaction was a deep disturbance on my part that I haven’t been doing things in the last two years that I’ve been on the board, I’ve not been doing enough to address the issues that they were bringing up,” he said.

Some students also brought up what they called an ongoing culture of racism at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

“What is happening to them and other students in the district is real, genuine, and it’s agonizing,” said Eastham.

Other students planned out protests. They held signs that said “Black Lives Matter” and demanded change within the school district.

“I feel like if they didn’t take these steps to protest and make their voices heard, they might have gotten swept under the rug,” said Polyak.

The school board said they plan to further address issues of racism at school during their next meeting on November 23rd.

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