Not long after Kori Dobbs, an African-American student at Albany High School, was elected senior class president in September, she became the target of racially charged tweets.
Albany High School is approximately 54 percent Black and 23 percent white.
Four white students were given three days of in-school suspensions yesterday for sending insensitive tweets, school officials told The Albany Times Union.
Dobbs brought the issue to the attention of the school last Friday because it had gone too far. The officials looked at screen shots of the insensitive tweets and determined that they violated the schools code of conduct.
“ I just couldn’t take the cyber bullying anymore and had to tell someone,” she told The Times Union. “I was really upset and sad.”
Dobbs and three of her friends used the campaign slogan “Unify Albany High” when they ran for student offices in late September. When they won, racist comments began to appear on Twitter.
Some tweeted that the senior prom theme would be ghetto and would serve malt liquor.
When the school encouraged a black out to show school spirit, Christopher Kissane, one of the white students given an in-school suspension, said he might “step it up a little and do blackface,” according to rawstory.com.
Kissane, who was the only student who spoke publicly, said that he wasn’t racist and that his “joke” was in reference to the TV sitcom, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadephia,” The Times Union reported.
“It was done in a joking, satirical manner and was not meant to be offensive to anybody,” he said.
His father, Richard Kissane, who has been teaching at Albany High School for 32 years, told The Times Union that offensive language is common among the students. Richard doesn’t believe his son has done anything wrong. According to him, it seems that the nature of the tweets mirrors the culture of the school
“There are a lot of racial undercurrents in the building,” he said. “The stuff I hear in class and in the hallway I find very offensive. I report offenses, and most of the time they are disregarded.”