Obscenities, slurs spread over phones halt Glacier Peak HS assembly
SNOHOMISH — At least two students disrupted an assembly at Glacier Peak High School on Nov. 29 by spreading hateful messages through internet-connected devices.
Two students had been identified and were disciplined as of Nov. 29. The district is working with law enforcement to see if others were involved, district officials said, and “to identify charges that may be filed against the perpetrators,” district spokeswoman Kristin Foley wrote in an email.
Messages such as “I kill gay n----as” and “n----r children should be raped” were among some of the obscene titles shown as WiFi hotspots that popped up as available networks. Other titles were “I hate these assemblies,” “someone shoot this up please,” the swastika symbol, comments about Principal Jeff Larson, and some hotspot names labeled individuals as homosexual.
The school ended the assembly once students reported the content. The district later released statements to families:
“In consultation with law enforcement, we determined these network names, while inappropriate, did not pose direct threats to safety. However, we acknowledge that such names may have made our students feel uncomfortable and unsafe. … As a school community we will not tolerate hatred, threats or this type of behavior.”
“Law enforcement and administrators are investigating the episode and have promised to provide more information as it becomes available.”
The district further stated: we “will also communicate the plans we develop to address threatening and discriminatory behaviors.”
A personal, password-protected WiFi hotspot can easily be created on a smartphone, and the hotspot’s name can be edited by the phone user, according to Motorola and other cell phone makers. Other phones and devices can usually see hotspots, but need the password to access them.
Parents and community members have expressed dismay and anger about the incident. The anti-racism activist group Snohomish for Equity released a statement in response to the offensive messages.
“This unfortunate hateful act by students at Glacier Peak is only another in several incidents within the community of Snohomish ... This is not just a school district problem but a community issue. While we find the district has a lot of work to do, they are engaged in making long term improvements. This recent incident at Glacier Peak only highlights the urgency and need to specifically address racism.”
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