Racist remarks lead to investigation at G-E-T

The Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau school board will meet in closed session for three separate expulsion hearings scheduled for Thursday after racist threats over social media were discovered last week.

The school board also met Tuesday in closed session “For the purpose of a recent administrative investigation” that district administrator Aaron Engel confirmed was related to the messages shared with the district. Engel would not confirm or deny whether the expulsion hearings were related to this incident however.

In a Facebook post from last Tuesday the mother of the alleged victim wrote that a photo of her son, who attends G-E-T High School, was taken by another student in class without his consent. The photo was also doctored to depict a noose, captioned “tar & feather this N!$$@” and shared in a group chat titled “small town boys” according to the post. Subsequent posts from the same group chat from an unknown number of individuals read “hang em,” “shoot a n!$ in the head with a shotgun” and “if he is still standing stop laughing and reload.”

“Threatening to shoot someone in the head is not EVER a joke it is a crime and an act of violence!” the mother wrote further into the post. “This is harassment, racial harassment, intimidation, bullying, and cyberbullying! My son deserves to feel safe at school!”

In a letter to district parents and staff shared with the Times, Engel said of the incident: “While I cannot go into detail, I can share that the situation is as bad as it sounds.”

“The bottom line is that we are better than this. We are appalled by the incident and are taking it very seriously,” Engel continued.

Engel went on to confirm that an investigation was taking place per the school’s disciplinary code, and due to the threat against a student, law enforcement has also been brought into the fold to address any potential criminal charges. 

“There is simply no place for racist or threatening behavior in our schools. Our priority is to ensure every student feels safe and welcome. We will do everything in our power to prevent a situation like this one from arising ever again,” Engel said to conclude the district statement.

As of Monday afternoon, Engel said the investigation was ongoing and that he could provide no further comment.

A fundraiser organized by Jacqueline Grover on the crowd-funding website GoFundMe.com on behalf of the family of the victim was also started on Saturday, with just over $1,000 raised as of Monday. Grover alleges in the description of the fundraiser that the mother of the victim has had to miss work, and that the family is looking to secure a lawyer and therapy for the victim. 

A request for comment from the mother of the victim did not receive a reply. 



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