TINLEY PARK, Ill. - A Tinley Park high school has disciplined students and added extra officers after an alleged series of racist incidents led to a fight on Wednesday.
In a letter shared with families, Victor Andrew High School Principal Bob Nolting said a video of a “culturally insensitive act” was AirDropped to students’ phones before the start of the school day, resulting in a “physical altercation.”
A parent of a high school sophomore shared a video with the Sun-Times that shows the racist photos allegedly shared with students.
The video shows photos of two people with apparently darkened faces with the captions “I’m a n—a” and “blackface is sweeping the nation.”
In an email, the parent alleges there were several fights Wednesday, and that one student allegedly brought a Quran to school and burned it before spitting on a Muslim student’s face.
In his letter, Nolting did not confirm or deny the Quran burning and did not say whether there was more than one fight that took place. He said, “all students involved in this incident have been equally and appropriately disciplined.”
At one point during the fight, a rumor arose that one student had a weapon, though that charge was later deemed unfounded, Nolting wrote.
According to Consolidated High School District 230 spokeswoman Carla Erdey, there were two fights at the school.
“One related to a culturally insensitive video from a year ago and another that was not related in any way,” Erdey said.
Erdey said the Quran incident “did not happen.”
“The school will continue to monitor social media and respond to any concerns brought forward,” Nolting wrote. “Through our investigation, we feel there is no imminent threat or safety concern at school.”
Nolting could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday.
Staff presence was increased following the fight and two additional Tinley Park police officers were on hand during passing periods, Nolting said.
On Thursday, Nolting delivered a message to students over the school’s PA system.
“As we repair the wounds of yesterday, we need to take on two challenges,” Nolting said. “The first is the perception that Andrew is a place where intolerance is tolerated. It is not, it has never been and it will never be.”
Additionally, Nolting said it would take acts of kindness, bravery and acceptance from the school community to “show others you care about who they are” in order to change outside perceptions brought on after the incidents.