[Fox News] Mom rages against school after daughter was bullied in online ‘slave auction’: ‘Serious lack of understanding’

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A Massachusetts school is embroiled in tension after students reportedly endured racist bullying in a “slave auction” on Snapchat, with the school’s response drawing ire from some in the community.

“It has become glaringly evident that there is a serious lack of understanding and commitment among the administrative leadership to ensure the safety and well-being of all students because of their race and or ethnicity,” Allyson Lopez, the mother of one of the alleged victims of bullying who was reportedly bid on in the online auction, told local outlet WWLP.

She said meeting with district administrators left her “profoundly disillusioned” despite her hopes for “meaningful change.”

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Southwick Regional School, which educates students grades 7-12, became rattled by the controversy in recent weeks after the online incident led students to complain about derogatory bullying.

The local NAACP also got in on the case, intervening on behalf of a Black student who said he was subjected to racially insensitive language and behavior in addition to the “online slave auction.”

“How can an investigation regarding the bullying and harassment of a student not include communication with the victim?” Bishop Talbert Swan, the president of Greater Springfield NAACP, wrote in a letter to the district superintendent.

Local media reported that Swan made a complaint to the school on the student’s behalf and alleged that, though the investigation into the incident is closed, the student was never approached by the administration for questioning.

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Local reports also highlighted students returning to class after winter break on Monday will be met with increased police presence to help foster feelings of safety and security.

Students will also be expected to attend an assembly “for open dialogue, support, and guidance on navigating challenging situations both inside and outside of school,” Superintendent Jennifer Willard said in a statement published by WWLP.

Willard wrote about the incident at length in the statement, additionally assuring the community, “We are committed to providing additional resources to educate both our staff and students on relevant topics. We will be enlisting external experts to lead discussions, offer training, and equip our school community with the necessary tools to address similar situations in the future.”

She continued, “Maintaining a safe and inclusive learning environment is of utmost importance. We encourage open communication and collaboration as we work together to address these challenges and fortify our community.”

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In Lopez’s own statement to the outlet, she talked of how the incident impacted her daughter and said her role as a mother is to support her through the trauma.

“The recent revelation of an online slave auction, orchestrated by individuals within the student body, is not only abhorrent but indicative of a systemic failure within our school district to address and eradicate racism,” Lopez said, according to WWLP. “Any child or group of children who can stoop to such a depraved and demented act must be met with swift and decisive action.”

Superintendent Willard and Principal Serena Shorter have been taking additional measures following the incident, with each holding meetings with specific groups – students and staff and affected families.

Fox News Digital has reached out to Southwick Regional School for further comment.

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