Alarmed parents of Rio Americano high school called their students attending class on Thursday after they received an alarming phone call.
After the falsified edit of Rio’s webpage with explicit racist agenda began to circulate, administrators took the necessary precautions to keep the school safe. “We are doing everything possible to investigate this issue and are committed to taking the appropriate actions based on the findings,” the voicemail to parents stated. “The county sheriff’s department has been notified and is taking a report.”
It was initially widely believed that the site had been hacked, however investigators uncovered no evidence of a hack, as the doctored pictures only appeared on social media.
According to CBS News, the Sheriff department notified the FBI.
“This message does not represent Rio Americano, its staff, students or community,” Principal Brian Ginter said in a later email to parents.
He went on to say that the student body is working to include messages of inclusion in the back-to-school rally on Friday. This news comes after multiple national stories regarding San Juan Unified School District (SJUSD) issues in recent months. These include the El Camino football game fight, a Rio Americano science teacher experiencing a possible contaminated classroom at Bella Vista High School and the opening of the new Rio football field halted by a nesting bird.
With the first week back after the image first surfaced under way, the school has made multiple efforts to spread a message of inclusion amongst the student body. First, Ginter accompanied members of the community and Black Lives Matter in front of the school Monday.
“Unfortunately, I don’t think everybody has come to the same place in understanding in how we relate to each other and we have a long way to go,” said Trent Allan, a representative from SJUSD who lead members from the community Monday.
Later in the day, Ginter held an assembly in the Preforming Arts Center with each individual class, acknowledging the situation.
“I will pledge to you guys that we will do everything…we possibly can to make sure you feel comfortable talking to us,” Ginter said to the senior class. “What we start today will continue this year with our community partners and with actions that we put together as we move forward.”
Finally, an emergency staff meeting was called where students voiced their concerns about communication between staff and students.