Student's 'racist' social media post spurs Howard police investigation

Howard County police are investigating an Oakland Mills High schooler’s social media post that principal Katherine Orlando described as “racist in nature” in a letter sent to parents Sunday evening.

A parent provided the Howard County Times with screen shots of the Snapchat post, which show a white male student wearing a Confederate flag bandanna and using a racial slur.

In her letter to Oakland Mills parents, Orlando said the post was “upsetting” and that Student Services staff were available to support students throughout the school day.

“I take the welfare of every student very seriously and want you to know that I am doing everything I can to better understand the origins of the social media post and evaluate the impact on our school climate and safety of our students,” the letter read.

Howard County police are investigating the post as a hate incident and police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said the school’s resource officer is working with the school administration. The post included a racial slur, Llewellyn said, but did not specifically target anyone.

The investigation is ongoing, she said.

School officials have responded to racial conflicts recently, in the past, including a walkout at Oakland Mills High in December when about 400 students protested a racist social media post. Students also created a petition to ask former Superintendent Renee Foose and the Board of Education to amend a school policy that would require students and staff be informed of any “direct or implied threat” made by another student.

The walkout was in response to social media posts that arose days after the presidential election and depicted a white Atholton High School student in blackface with a racial slur and another of a white River Hill High School student holding what appeared to be a handgun and using a racial slur.

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