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Red Wing school administrators denounce racially insensitive event

More than 60 white students at Red Wing High School wore doo rags, ball caps cocked to one side, oversized sports jerseys and shorts, and low-slung pants to school last Wednesday -- saying it was "Wigger Day" -- prompting a rebuke from school administrators.

Black students found the display demeaning, says the Red Wing Republican Eagle.

Principal Beth Borgen said students taking part in the unsanctioned activity were rounded up and told to comply with school dress code policy, the paper said:

Almost all did, she said.

Students taking part in the act last week knew it was inappropriate, Borgen said, noting that many students had changes of clothes in their vehicles and lockers.

"I as a principal do not want to see this behavior continue," she said. "I was shocked and appalled."

LaVergne Dickerson, advocacy coordinator for the African American Literacy Project of Red Wing, said the school's students of color expressed shame following the "mocking of culture and ethnicity."

Said the paper:

School Board Chairman Mitch Boldt condemned the behavior, saying some parents may need to be spoken with — depending on the severity of their children's behavior.

"Parents are responsible," he said. "This is happening in our community and it's not acceptable."

Comments from other officials:

School Board member Heidi Jones called the incident "rotten," but expressed satisfaction that discussion on cultural issues had begun.

"I see we're already having that dialog," Jones said. "That's the grandest first step."

Supt. Stan Slessor agreed something should be done. He said the education system is focused so strongly on core subjects that issues like cultural awareness can be pushed to the background.

"We have pockets of doing some good things. We don't have a systematic way," Slessor said, calling for a "connected approach" to weave cultural education into the curriculum.

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