Racially-charged photos circulate of former Rochester students

Five years ago, former Rochester Public Schools students took racially charged photographs wearing black clothing and black paint on their bodies and faces. We're finding out the photos are circulating again on social media and how alumni just want to see change in their district.

Posted: Jun 23, 2020 11:18 PM
Updated: Jun 24, 2020 6:36 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - Insensitive. Hurtful. Further perpetuating systemic racism. That's how Rochester Public Schools describe images circulating on Facebook of students wearing black clothing and black paint. The District reports it started an investigation around the images.

"I just was wondering how it even passed by the school and how more people weren't angered, confused, disgusted, because a lot of people were hyping them up and telling them oh it's so cool rather than telling them it's terribly wrong," Muntaas Farah, an alumnus of Mayo High School said.

Two years ago - a photograph of students wearing blackface and Ku Klux Klan outfits circulated. The District confirmed at least two people in the photo attended John Marshall High School. Muntaas Farah graduated from Mayo High School and is Somali-American.

"You feel invisible, I feel like even though there are high populations especially at Mayo of people of color, you feel like your voices aren't heard," Farah said. "People, they don't take you seriously."

Her experience is like Samia Abdi's - a black Somali-American who also graduated from the school.

"There was a lot of racial incidents that happened at our school specifically," Abdi said. "Administration at the school, I remember I one time I brought up to I think he's now the principal at mayo, we brought up that students were calling us the n word and racial slurs and he reacted by saying: Oh black students say the n-word all the time."

Farah and Abdi believe it's time for a change.

"Although the community is diverse, it's very segregated," Farah said. "I feel like people stick to the people they know because they don't want to continuously have the same conversations with people that go nowhere."

KIMT News 3 reached out to Rochester Public Schools and the principal at Mayo High School for a statement. They say in part: "Unfortunately the District is not able to respond to inquiries regarding current or former students or personnel matters."

Here is a link to RPS' full statement.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 56560

Reported Deaths: 1656
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin18009819
Ramsey6944261
Dakota3991103
Anoka3365113
Stearns283120
Washington191743
Nobles17466
Olmsted162923
Scott139014
Mower10812
Rice9998
Blue Earth8525
Wright8135
Carver7792
Clay74540
Kandiyohi6761
Sherburne6497
St. Louis43619
Todd4202
Lyon4163
Freeborn3541
Steele3301
Nicollet31213
Benton3063
Watonwan2980
Winona24716
Crow Wing21313
Martin2045
Le Sueur2011
Beltrami1930
Chisago1791
Goodhue1768
Otter Tail1763
Cottonwood1710
Becker1431
Pipestone1439
Unassigned14040
McLeod1380
Itasca13212
Polk1313
Douglas1300
Waseca1280
Pine1270
Carlton1250
Dodge1230
Murray1221
Isanti1100
Chippewa981
Brown852
Faribault830
Meeker832
Morrison831
Wabasha810
Sibley792
Koochiching743
Rock740
Pennington721
Jackson700
Mille Lacs653
Fillmore610
Renville595
Cass582
Lincoln540
Swift521
Grant491
Yellow Medicine490
Roseau460
Pope430
Houston390
Norman340
Redwood300
Kanabec291
Hubbard280
Marshall280
Wilkin283
Aitkin270
Mahnomen231
Wadena230
Big Stone220
Red Lake200
Lake180
Clearwater150
Stevens150
Traverse100
Lac qui Parle60
Kittson40
Cook20
Lake of the Woods10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 45774

Reported Deaths: 883
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk9723203
Woodbury365151
Black Hawk300362
Linn210887
Johnson193315
Dallas178935
Buena Vista178512
Scott159312
Dubuque153729
Marshall138924
Pottawattamie121723
Story110914
Wapello84932
Muscatine82648
Webster7255
Crawford7193
Sioux5952
Cerro Gordo57617
Tama53729
Warren5281
Jasper45524
Plymouth4438
Wright4431
Louisa37914
Dickinson3754
Clinton3173
Washington28710
Hamilton2411
Boone2282
Franklin2205
Bremer1877
Clarke1863
Carroll1811
Emmet1791
Clay1711
Hardin1650
Shelby1611
Marion1530
Allamakee1514
Poweshiek1468
Benton1431
Jackson1411
Des Moines1392
Mahaska13617
Floyd1292
Guthrie1265
Jones1242
Cedar1201
Hancock1172
Butler1142
Henry1133
Pocahontas1131
Buchanan1111
Lyon1020
Madison1022
Clayton983
Cherokee971
Harrison970
Lee953
Taylor930
Humboldt921
Delaware901
Monona900
Iowa891
Winneshiek851
Calhoun822
Mills820
Fayette810
Sac810
Palo Alto790
Kossuth780
Jefferson770
Osceola770
Mitchell760
Page760
Winnebago760
Grundy741
Union701
Monroe677
Worth610
Chickasaw510
Cass481
Davis481
Howard480
Lucas454
Montgomery433
Appanoose423
Greene380
Fremont350
Van Buren321
Keokuk301
Ida290
Audubon281
Decatur220
Adair210
Ringgold211
Adams160
Wayne161
Unassigned80
Rochester
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 54°
Mason City
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 53°
Albert Lea
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 54°
Austin
52° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 52°
Charles City
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 55°
Rain returns for Wednesday
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Gold and Silver Prices Going Up

Image

Memorial Bicycle Ride

Image

MSHSL votes to postpone football and volleyball

Image

Rochester Public Schools survey parent opinions about options

Image

Waterloo hands Rochester 13th straight loss

Image

Mason City Fire Department burn training

Image

Coronavirus impact on the 2020 census

Image

Inside Graham Park testing site

Image

Farmer's Market Sees Increased Support

Image

Splash Pad Wanted in Rochester

Community Events