Mason Middle School hit by another racial incident

A racist, social media message sent to some African-American students at Mason Middle School prompted school officials to send a notice to school parents.

The Snapchat message was received this week by a handful of black students in the Warren County school and it comes in the wake of a recent racial incident where a Mason teacher at the same school was suspended for telling a black student his classmates “lynch” him if he didn’t complete his class work.

In a notice sent Tuesday to Mason Middle School (MMS) parents, Principal Tonya McCall wrote: “Today, we received a tip that several African-American students received an offensive Snapchat message. We reported the message to our School Resource Officer, and will continue to investigate who might have sent it.”

“As many of you may be aware, an MMS teacher recently made an offensive remark to an African-American student. We know that there is no explanation or defense that would make such a comment appropriate. We are working to do what is right — apologize, make amends, and take steps to be better.”

McCall continued and wrote: “We know that racial incidents don’t just hurt the students of color in our schools — they hurt all of our students and staff. We believe that our diversity strengthens our school and community.”

On Saturday Mason school officials announced Middle School teacher Renee Thole would be suspended for her December remark to the black student in addition to being reprimanded and ordered to take cultural sensitivity training.

The incident drew national attention and Mason district officials have responded with promises to re-new its exiting efforts and programs to improve racial sensitivity in the predominately white school system of 11,000-students.

Mason Superintendent Gail Kist-Kline sent a message to “Mason City Schools Families” on Saturday with the subject line “Mason Schools Response to Teacher’s Comment” after the story about the teacher gained national attention.

“Racism is real in America, and we all have an obligation to fight it,” Kist-Kline wrote.

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