After images surfaced last week of students at Salinas High School in California posing with a Black baby doll named “Shaniqua” and engaging in various types of abuse with the doll, three students have been suspended. A student seen posing with the doll on the now-deleted student-run Instagram account “Shaniqua.shs” has also been removed from the school’s cheer team.
The Salinas Union High School District said in a statement on Thursday, “New facts have developed in the past 48 hours that require us to pursue more information. Thus, our student investigation will continue and we will alert the public when the investigation is fully complete.”
While the investigation into student conduct continues, a third party is also investigating staff members for potential involvement.
School officials first learned about the Instagram account on Saturday, Aug. 21, after students posed with the doll at a Friday football jamboree and posted the images on social media.
Numerous students posed with the doll, which is seen with white eyes and eyebrows drawn on its face, for photos and videos. Students also attached an ankle monitor to the doll. In one video students stomped the doll’s body into the floor, and in another image the doll’s neck was pinned into the sunroof window of a vehicle.
Students also allegedly ran over the doll with a car and wrote racial slurs on the social media page. One caption under an image of a student posing with the doll reads, “Abby meets Shawwniggua.”
Although the Instagram account is no loner accessible, screenshots of the images were shared across social media platforms, including Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.
“The administration promptly initiated a full investigation which will include identifying those who were directly involved,” district officials said in a statement about the “disturbing images and videos.”
KSBW reported that two of the suspended students are Hispanic and one is Black. They are accused of creating the Instagram page. The cheerleaders removed from the team are white.
At a school board meeting on Aug. 24, parents and students voiced concern over the doll incident and pointed a pattern of racism at schools in the district.
“It’s not just the Friday jamboree, it’s Monday when I go to school and I hear the N-word in the hallways,” said an Alisal High School senior, The Salinas Californian reported. Parents have also called for the abuse of the doll not to be dismissed as “just a joke.” Demonstrators also placed Black baby dolls outside of the district office near a sign that said “Representing for the real Shiniquas.”
After parents demanded to know how the activities with the doll were allowed to take place on school grounds, the Monterey County chapter of the NAACP demanded accountability in a statement.
“We demand answers from you about the egregious lack of judgment displayed by the adults that you have entrusted to monitor and oversee the behavior of your own student body,” the Thursday statement said. “They [students] need to know that you support them, and that they matter.”