Lawrence school district investigating racist social media messages sent by Free State students

photo by: Chris Conde

Free State High School is pictured in this file photo from September 2018.

The Lawrence school district is investigating a Monday incident of students at Free State High School posting racist messages through social media.

A Free State student who saw the post told the Journal-World that one of the students involved sent a video message featuring another student laughing and showing a piece of paper with the N-word and a Nazi symbol drawn above it. The student did not specify how or where the message was posted, but a district official indicated that it was a Snapchat post.

Julie Boyle, a spokeswoman for the school district, said Wednesday that Free State administrators were investigating the incident. She said that when the investigation was complete the school would “follow up” with the students involved and their parents.

Boyle said the school district will consider disciplinary action if the investigation reveals the students violated school rules or school board policies.

In a joint statement, Superintendent Anthony Lewis and Free State Principal Myron Graber said the views of the message were contrary to the school district’s values.

“We share the disgust of the students who are speaking out about the Snapchat post,” they said in the statement. “Racial slurs and symbols of hate are no laughing matter. These actions of a few do not reflect Free State High School, our district’s commitment to racial equity and social justice, or the respect our students and staff have for each other and the racial and cultural diversity of our school community.”

Lewis and Graber also commended the students who spoke out about the incident.

“As an educational organization, we will use this as an opportunity to learn, grow, speak up, and act. We will continue to educate students about discrimination and harassment,” they said. “In many ways, we believe the students who are speaking up about this now will lead the way. We commend them for their leadership.”

Contact Dylan Lysen

Have a story idea, news or information to share? Contact reporter Dylan Lysen:


Welcome to the new Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.