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Saturday, 12 November 2016

Shasta High student gives 'deportation' notices to other kids


A Shasta High School student is in trouble for giving out phony deportation notices to several students of different ethnicities, district officials said.

The incident comes amid famously immigration-tough Donald Trump’s presidential election win Tuesday, though it couldn’t be confirmed whether the incident is related to Trump’s victory. Shasta Union High School District Superintendent Jim Cloney said he didn’t know whether the presidential race triggered the student’s stunt, “but I guess it would be hard to say it wasn’t.”


The student posted a video that’s since been deleted of himself making the rounds with the fake deportation notices, Cloney said. In a voice message Shasta High School Principal Leo Perez apparently sent to parents, Perez said “the students involved are all friends and the act was meant as a joke,” but it’s still not a joking matter.

A reader submitted stills from the video that appears to have been published on Snapchat to the Record Searchlight. The paper is not publishing the pictures so that the students can’t be identified.

In the stills, at least four students can be seen holding papers, though it’s not clear whether one of them is the distributor himself.

One shows a close-up of the “Deportation Order” being held by an unidentified hand in a classroom full of students with the caption “Got him.” The document is made to look like a real court order, but a Google search of the “712th Nonjudicial District Court” identified at the top reveals that the supposed court is one frequently used in prank forms.

In another caption, a student reading one of the notices is identified by the user as “another french one.”

The five or six students contacted by the boy appear to be of multiple ethnicities, Cloney said, but he wasn’t sure of their backgrounds.

The boy apparently distributed the notices throughout at least one school day, because different stills span a period of four hours or more. But Cloney said he had no indication that any teachers or staff members caught on to what was happening.

Cloney said both his office and Shasta High School found out Thursday through callers who saw posts on social media. It wasn’t immediately clear what day the incident happened.

After that, administrators contacted the boy and his family, and Cloney said the student told them “it was done to be funny.”

“It goes without saying, we don’t think this sort of behavior is funny nor reflective of the culture at Shasta High and behavior that is racially or culturally insensitive will not be allowed to go on at any of our schools,” Cloney said.

Cloney said he couldn’t comment on the specifics of the student’s potential punishment, but his office “will apply appropriate consequences depending on the severity of the situation to ensure that the behavior is not repeated.”

“We take issues around racial and cultural insensitivity very seriously,” Cloney reiterated.

A national reporter tracking incidents of racism or xenophobia that have happened since Trump won the election Tuesday said he had been contacted by Latino Shasta High parents about the letters.

Meanwhile, a Shasta County Citizens Advocating Respect member said the incident has triggered talks in the group of a “non-discrimination contract” for local elected officials so that voters would know whether they support diversity of races, religions and sexual orientations, though such an agreement would be “symbolic at best.”

That member, Trent Copland, said prejudice existed before the election, but Trump’s win has clearly given some people confidence to showcase their hate now.

“It has been brought to the forefront by our president-elect’s boorish behavior,” Copland said in an email. “He did not create it. It has always been here but he has certainly encouraged it to rear its ugly, ugly head. Is this what we are teaching our kids? To behave like him? Because that’s the message I’m hearing and this incident springs right from that message.”

It’s not the first racially charged incident at a Redding high school this year. Nearby University Preparatory School made headlines in early 2016 when some of its students allegedly said ethnic slurs and held up offensive signs directed at a largely Hispanic boys basketball team the school was playing.

U-Prep is also part of the Shasta Union High School District. In that incident, the students involved were suspended.

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