‘Those filters are not set up to catch the N-word’: Racist email sent to metro students, staff

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PLATTE CITY, Mo. -- A letter steeped in hate was sent to hundreds in Platte County.

Nina Mathews says her 15-year-old daughter, a sophomore at Platte County High School, was traumatized after receiving a Google document, sent to her school email address, with a lengthy, hateful message directed at African-Americans.

“My daughter’s upset. She’s nervous about going back to school,” Mathews said.

Administrators at the Platte County R-3 School District said an investigation revealed the message was sent by a student at the Barry School on Friday.

“A Barry School student shared a Google document with all district email addresses, which provided editing rights to all with access,” the district said in a statement on Friday.

The Google document included three full pages of hate speech aimed at African-Americans. It reads like a mock owners manual with vivid, hurtful descriptions on how to torture and humiliate African-Americans.

District leaders believe a student copied the text directly from a hate-fueled website.

“Somebody has to do something, and it has to start with me,” Mathews told FOX4.

In a follow up statement on Monday afternoon, the district announced that an investigation has helped them identify the student responsible for the initial email.

School officials say the document’s access was removed by the district’s technology staff within 19 minutes -- but not before it was seen by approximately 225 secondary students and staff.

“Over the course of the weekend’s investigation, we have reviewed 209 pages of a variety of content that was posted from a total of 23 students,” the district’s updated statement from Superintendent Dr. Mike Reik said.

“The document included a three page posting of racist and hateful text that appears to have been copied from a website and pasted from a student’s cell phone, and does not appear to have been written by the student. The document also contained content that ranged from sexually explicit to profane to merely random text. Not all of the content violated the Student Handbook, including one student’s request to ‘please stop.'

"From our investigation, we have identified the student responsible for initiating the racist and hateful content. The investigation of this incident is ongoing and will remain active until we are confident we have identified all students responsible.

"Our District does not tolerate racism, hate speech, or inappropriate, disruptive behavior, and we will follow our Board of Education policies to hold students accountable for their actions.”

Mathews is grateful the incident’s being taken seriously but is urging the district to create better online safeguards to prevent future dissemination of district-wide hate speech.

“There was supposed to be filters in place to prevent things like that from happening and apparently those filters are not set up to catch the N-word.”

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