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Travel Guides – A Washington school board meeting was cut short after 2 attendees interrupted the Black superintendent by playing recordings of a racial slur

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  • A school board meeting in Washington was disrupted by two people playing recordings of a racial slur.

  • The individuals played recordings of the slur while the district’s Black superintendent tried to speak.

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  • Local law enforcement are investigating the incident as an intentional hate crime, authorities said

A hybrid Washington state school board meeting was temporarily shut down last month after two attendees interrupted the district’s Black superintendent to play recordings of a repeated racial slur.

The incident occurred during a November 22 Enumclaw school board meeting when Superintendent Dr. Shaun Carey began presenting a report to public attendees. The small Washington city is located in King County, southeast of Seattle.

As Carey began to speak, an individual on the Zoom meeting unmuted their microphone and displayed a photo of George Floyd, according to Jessica McCartney, a public information officer for the district told Insider. The individual then began to play a track with a repeated racial slur.

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The Courier-Herald, a local newspaper in the area, reported that the track was amplifying the N-word.

McCartney, who was managing the Zoom meeting, told Insider she quickly removed the individual and put them in a waiting room, but as soon as she did so, another person in the meeting unmuted himself and started playing the same recording.

The second individual appeared to be an elderly white male, McCartney said.

“Knowing it was more than one individual Zoom participant lessens the chance that this was a random ‘Zoombombing,'” McCartney said.

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The board of directors took a brief recess following the incident, and when they returned, announced the meeting would continue in-person only. Although the district’s virtual meetings are typically not recorded, McCartney said someone sitting in the audience was able to record the incident. The video was later shared on a local Facebook group.

Local law enforcement is investigating the incident, and McCartney said the district is cooperating with the ongoing investigation.

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In a press release, Enumclaw Police Department Commander Mike Graddon said the investigation may require several search warrants in order to collect data that can identify the IP addresses of the devices used to interrupt the meeting.

“This case is being investigated as an intentional hate crime,” Graddon wrote. “Additional law violations pertaining to disturbing a school meeting and disorderly conduct are being weighed.”

In a statement published last week, Carey addressed the episode, telling community members that the experience, unfortunately, was not “completely foreign to me in my many years of life,” and left him “unsettled and disheartened.”

“Regardless of whether or not the two individuals who carried out this hateful act were random ‘zoombombers’ or members of our community, the actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” he wrote.

Carey said the spontaneous hate speech left most of the meeting attendees “shocked and appalled,” and confirmed that the images and words used by the individuals were aimed at degrading people of color.

According to McCartney, this was the first incident of its kind at any of the district’s school board meetings, which up until last week had allowed in-person guests and virtual attendees the same level of participation. Moving forward, the district will be reviewing practices and implementing changes for future meetings, McCartney said.

In his statement, Carey thanked the community for an “outpouring of support,” and emphasized the district’s commitment to students.

“We are not unlike most communities that are working hard to make certain that every person feels safe, respected, and valued,” he wrote. “This isn’t always easy to do, but it is always the right thing to do.”

Read the original article on Insider

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