A man possibly responsible for recording and publicly posting a video, in which he made racially insensitive remarks while driving through the parking lot of Martin Luther King High School in Riverside, was being questioned Wednesday by police, whose investigation followed recent social media posts with images of youths outside the campus posing with a swastika.
“There was a picture with individuals standing in front of a flag and holding some symbols,” Riverside Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Tim Walker told City News Service. “We became aware of it last Thursday, and it did cause some unease.”
Walker declined to confirm whether any of the individuals in the posts were King High students. The motorist who recorded the video was also at the school, though the exact date was unconfirmed, according to Riverside police.
Officer Ryan Railsback said further details would be released later.
In the video, the man, whose identity has not been disclosed, makes references to “white kids up here bullying black kids” and “ground zero” for some unspecified act, according to published reports.
“Anytime something happens in and around our schools, we have an extremely collaborative and communicative relationship with the Riverside Police Department, and when the post in the parking lot went out, we were working together immediately,” Walker said. “We are continuing to work with them in this ongoing investigation.”
Walker said the RUSD and RPD determined the activity to represent “a low level threat.”
“Any investigation of a threat causes concern,” he told CNS. “We focus on the safety of the children, and we sent messages to parents as part of our open and transparent communication.”
According to Walker, attendance at King Wednesday dropped “just short of 20% compared to the normal Wednesday absenteeism rate,” likely attributable to the social media posts and ensuing parental concerns.
According to the assistant superintendent, several events are planned this month at the high school to promote “inclusiveness.”
“We are in a situation where we’re interpreting images that go against our core values and goals as a school district,” he said. “As a district, we’re focused on academic outcomes and social emotional well-being for students and staff.”
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