Groves administration responds to racist threats among students


The African Americans Changing Tomorrow club organized and broadcasted an MLK special activity for students just three days prior to the release of a racist exchange between students over social media, on January 12.

Tensions were high as students returned back to school this Tuesday, January 17, following an incident made apparent during this past MLK weekend. A screenshot of a text conversation involving numerous Groves students was spread among the student body via social media. The text conversation included the use of racist and threatening language towards another student, and a minority group as a whole. 

A statement was released by the Groves administration, and principal Dr. Susan Smith regarding the situation the following evening.

“As many of you know, there was an incident involving our students this weekend where hateful, racist language was used. I want each of you to understand this behavior is absolutely unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Smith said. “There is no place for this language or these actions in our school and community. Words matter. Actions matter.”

The circulation of these incidents follows just days after a school wide MLK event on January 12. Classrooms spent their Thursday mornings engaging in group discussion about how they can better the Groves community, and enhance inclusivity in and around the school. A video presentation portion showcased a variety of students at Groves, many of whom are active members of the African Americans Changing Tomorrow (AACT) club offered at Groves.

“When we first saw the messages, we were extremely frustrated and uncomfortable. The fact that [the student] felt okay with typing and sending those messages in [a] group chat with other members of our school is disgusting,” an [anonymous] AACT member said. “It was alarming seeing how the student felt about one group of people. Especially since if the screenshots weren’t shared, we would’ve been blindly going to school with someone with such a hateful attitude toward black people”.

Smith released a second statement through the Groves eNews letter on January 18 with an update on the situation.

Our hearts are with those affected as hateful speech has no place anywhere, and we are investigating this matter in accordance with our school policies and procedures. By law, I cannot share details about the investigation surrounding specific students and we assure you that we are taking this situation very seriously,” Smith said. “In the time I have been the principal at Groves, we have had a school-wide goal to create a safe, inclusive and equitable learning environment for all students. I remain committed to dialogue and action to foster healing, progress and growth as we pursue this goal.”

Smith states that this behavior will not be tolerated both in, and out, of the Groves community, and plans to continue to build on inclusivity and the integration of different races, ethnicities, religions, and more within the student body. Much like the group discussions that took place during the MLK assembly, Smith and the team of administration have organized various group discussions to follow. The next discussion is scheduled to take place during the fourth hour period on Friday, January 20. 

Groves, we have work to do to make sure ALL students feel safe, welcome and included. We celebrate our diverse student body, so we are going to continue to have dialogue and take action in our pursuit of that goal,” Smith said. “It is the responsibility of each of us to understand that our words and actions have impact, and to listen to and learn from one another.”