Monroe parents take concerns about social media controversy to school board

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MONROE -- Social media posts are causing controversy in Monroe resulting in student suspension and a school board grappling with the scandal.

This all comes after what many describe as disturbing behavior on social media -- with posts targeted toward minorities and the disabled.

About a week after a petition was created by a student at Masuk High School, asking district leaders to remove and re-locate one of their fellow students, the issue was brought up at a Board of Education meeting.

While the school board previously said it would not be an agenda item at Tuesday's meeting, Board of Education Chair Donna Lane gave a brief statement addressing the issue:

"I wanted to begin by saying that the Monroe Board of Education and our administrators are fully committed to the safety and well being of our students and staff. As has been stated previously, any type of discriminatory or inappropriate  behavior within our district will not be tolerated. We along with law enforcement officials are continuing to work together on the recent issue of disturbing social media posts. It is important to note that the administration and the board must comply with all legal requirements concerning this situation and for that reason please understand that legally we are very limited on what we can and cannot say regarding this matter. As a board we continue to take this situation extremely seriously, we will continue to address this issue thoroughly and in compliance with all legal requirements. The best interest of our students and entire Monroe School Community continues to be at the forefront of all our decisions and actions."

One parent and three students took the floor to voice their concerns.

"I'm a minority, I’m Hispanic, daughter with Downs syndrome, and those images I cannot get out of my head," parent Rene Abdalah said. "I want that to be addressed and to really make a statement and say we are a town where intimidation, bullying, discrimination, is just not accepted."

FOX 61 previously spoke to Abdalah in an exclusive interview after his son and other students were involved in an altercation with the social media poster, after asking him to take the pictures down.

The pictures on the account make jokes at the expense of African Americans, the disabled and even making fun of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary.

At the BOE meeting, Abdalah and some students came up with some ideas to change the climate of the school.

"We have a spotlight on us and we have the momentum for change and I think its time we take that momentum and make some serious change," student Kanu Caplash said. "So kids don’t grow up saying they had a horrible childhood, or grow up having lived through a tragedy."

Caplash recommends the district revisits school rules, regulations and punishment. Abdalah said he as a parent is open to joining that conversation with school leaders.

Another student recommended the school get a link on its website for students to post anonymous tips about cyber bullying.

The superintendent confirmed to FOX 61 that this is an idea in the works, in fact, school officials got a proposal from a company, Tuesday.

The Monroe Police Department is still involved and investigating alleged threatening behavior from this particular student.