Racial slur leads to police investigation at Chaska Middle School East

December 04, 2018 11:14 PM

A racial slur written on a 13-year-old student's gym shirt at Chaska Middle School East has lead to a police and school district investigation into the incident.

The principal at Chaska Middle School East, Beth Holm, sent a letter to students' homes after the racial bullying incident was reported to school administrators:

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Dear Chaska Middle School East Families,

We had an incident yesterday that students are talking about. I want to make sure you have as many facts as we can provide. What we can share is limited because school staff are restricted by state law from discussing publicly the details of an investigation that involves our student(s). Yesterday, it was reported to us that someone had written a racial slur on a student's personal wellness t-shirt. We began the investigation yesterday and today we are getting assistance from the Chaska Police Department.

I want to reinforce with you that racism and bigotry have no place at East. We do not tolerate any harassment of our students. When it is based on race, gender or other groups of people, we strongly condemn that behavior. Creating a safe and welcoming school climate is what we strive to do every day. While I cannot share details about our investigation, I can assure you our administrative team is deeply involved in this matter and we are treating it with the highest concern. We will continue to work every day to make sure that Chaska Middle School East is the best and safest place for ALL students."

Beth Holm
Principal


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Ashleigh Bursch told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS her son, Taylin, had faced racial slurs and insults for the past two years at Chaska East and she decided to post her frustrations on social media outlets after her son's gym shirt was defaced with racist graffiti.

"Someone got into his gym locker and they wrote the 'n-word' in two different places on the shirt," Bursch said. "He was mortified by it and reported it to a school teacher."

Bursch said she received what she described as an "abrupt email" from an administrator at the Chaska East which, she said, seemed to treat the incident with indifference.

"It wasn't until after my Facebook posts that the school and the school district did something serious with it," Bursch said. "I think what was most heartbreaking, to me, was the indifference I felt from the district after enduring this for two years now."

Taylin Bursch told KSTP he had grown accustomed to the racial taunts and slurs, but he has no intention of leaving Chaska East because he wants to see things change for the better.

"I would like to see things improve and I don't really want to leave," Taylin said. "I have made a lot of friends there and I have received a lot of support, too, from them."

KSTP asked the Eastern Carver County School District for an interview, but the district has not yet responded to the request.

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Jay Kolls

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