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By Jeff Pack
Staff Writer 

Screenshots of racist group chat involving former VMHS students surfaces

 

Last updated 6/5/2020 at 5:22pm

Screenshots of group chat between students – allegedly taking place during their time as students at Vista Murrieta High School – surfaced recently on social media causing an uproar because of the racist nature of the conversation.

The screenshots of the chat involving four boys involve several images and statements that are racist in nature.

Valley News has chosen to protect the identity of the young woman who posted the screenshots out of fear of retribution.

Along with the screenshots, the young woman indicated that at the time, she brought her concerns to school officials but got nowhere.

"I showed these messages to people as I didn't know what to do and immediately received threats from the people in the group chat and their parents," she said. "I got called crazy and eventually had to switch to online school.

"And when I tried to out them, they covered it up and silenced me. The BBC (Bronco Bleacher Creatures) advisor and football coaches at Vista Murrieta High School played a part in covering it up when it began to spread," she said. "VMHS itself is disgusting for how they handled this. I know exactly all the people who supported them through this. And don't think I'm afraid to name names. I was torn to shreds for trying to bring this to light and all the supporters of these racists who defended them and stood by them deserve as much backlash."

At least three of the young men who appear to be implicated in the chat group have released statements publicly via their personal Twitter accounts alluding to the group chat, taking responsibility for their actions, and denouncing their own behavior.

Valley News is not identifying any of the names implicated in the allegations without confirmation of their identities.

"We were shocked by racist posts that have appeared on social media recently," Monica Gutierrez, Public Information Officer for MVUSD, said in a statement Friday afternoon. "The content of these texts and the heinous images they portrayed are reprehensible and disturbing. They do not reflect the values of our school district."

Gutierrez reiterated that the posts were made by former students.

"They were posted by former students five years ago and have resurfaced during the recent demonstrations across the country calling for racial justice," she said. "These posts came to our attention yesterday.

"The school district is taking this situation very seriously. We are using an independent investigator from Best, Best & Krieger (BBK), a respected law firm with a long track record in dealing with racial injustice and hate speech. We have asked that BBK finds out whether individual staff members were informed about these posts at the time and how they handled the situation.

"We are confident the BBK investigative report will guide our future efforts to ensure that racism has no place in our schools. These are times that an organization must be open and transparent."

Gutierrez insisted that the district has done work "in the pursuit of equity, inclusion, and respect" at the district.

"Our leadership team has facilitated courageous conversations with staff, parents, and students on the topics of racism, prejudice, and institutional bias," she said. "We have an equity policy in place that is creating a pathway to progress on equity and change. But that is not enough; we must do more. Together, we can and will make a positive difference.

"We encourage our community to partner with us as we work towards eliminating racism and prejudice in our schools and community."

This is a breaking news story which will be updated when more information becomes available.

Jeff Pack can be reached at [email protected]

 

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