May 19, 2017 08:31 PM
A post in the Brainerd High School yearbook from a student about wanting to see President Donald Trump beheaded is drawing scrutiny on social media.
The post appears on a page titled "Trump 2k17-2K20? How do you feel about him?"
"I would like to behead him," reads one student's response. "I do not like him."
Mark Johnson, the assistant special agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service field office in Minneapolis, confirmed the agency is investigating the matter.
"We've got to look at the totality of it, do the investigation, and make a determination," Johnson said.
"We'll investigate and bring it to the U.S. Attorney's Office and they'll make a decision (on) whether to prosecute."
Johnson said his agency must investigate such statements, even if they come from high school students.
"We investigate regardless of who makes the threat," he said.
Parents and students demonstrated and rallied a few blocks away from Brainerd High School on Friday afternoon. Police cars were standing by. The protest was heated, with parents and students yelling back and forth at each other.
Some of them felt the message was violent and should not have been published, faulting the district and yearbook advisor for allowing it to be part of the yearbook. Others said it was merely the opinion of one person and they weren't bothered by it.
Stephanie Tougas, who has had three children graduate from Brainerd High School, said: "This signifies hate."
Bobbie Thiesse, who currently has two children as BHS, said: "I'm sick. I'm disgusted. My children were not happy with it."
BHS Senior, Jake Berg, said: "I was definitely disappointed. It shouldn't have ever made it in there."
The post has drawn attention on social media, including from actor Scott Baio, who spoke on behalf of Trump at the Republican National Convention last summer.
The school issued a statement, which reads:
"The Administration of Brainerd Public Schools has been notified that the 2016-2017 high school yearbook contains highly disrespectful statements from students about political figures, including the President of the United States. The Administration was previously unaware of the students’ statements in the yearbook.
The District does not support or otherwise endorse any disrespectful or politically based statements that are in the yearbook and apologizes for the statements that were included. While the District supports Free Speech, the disrespectful statements in the yearbook are contrary to the basic educational mission of the District and should not have been included in a school sponsored publication.
The Administration is currently investigating how this occurred and is reviewing the District’s processes to ensure that this type of unacceptable situation does not occur in the future.
The Administration deeply regrets that the existing processes for reviewing the yearbook did not result in the removal of the inappropriate statements."
Frank Rajkowski and Brandi Powell
Updated: May 19, 2017 08:31 PM
Created: May 19, 2017 09:57 AM
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