Police in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, on Friday told TheBlaze that a white high school student who made national headlines this week claiming she was falsely accused of sending racist messages is not a suspect in the incident, which the district superintendent earlier called a "hoax."
What's the background?
White Bear Lake Area High School students walked out of school last Friday morning in protest over racist threats sent to several black students from an anonymous Instagram account, the Pioneer Press reported, which added that the messages contained death threats and repeated use of the N-word.
The paper reported in a follow-up story that a female student took responsibility Monday for sending the messages, and Superintendent Wayne Kazmierczak said in a letter that the messages were "a hoax sent under false pretense." He added that the student "poses no threat to students of color," the Pioneer Press said.
In addition, the paper said Kazmierczak wrote in separate letter Wednesday that he regretted using the word "hoax" and didn't mean to "minimize the impact that racism or racist acts has on students and families who have been marginalized throughout history and in White Bear Lake Area Schools."
The superintendent also said he would recommend expulsion for the culprit due to violation of the district's bullying and harassment policies, the Pioneer Press added.
Police would not comment on the race of the student responsible for the messages, and the school district has not responded to TheBlaze's inquires about the race of the student behind the messages.
Ellen Hiniker, White Bear Lake's city manager, said in a Wednesday statement that the "juvenile female" who created the anonymous Instagram account did so "to raise awareness of social and racial injustice due to past incidents that occurred at school."
"It has not yet been determined whether additional individuals contributed to the content of the postings associated with this account," Hiniker added. "Although the investigation is ongoing, it is important that the information we have at this time be shared to help ease fears associated with this particular incident."
White student says she was falsely accused
Amid speculation about the race of the student responsible for the messages, a white student told The Daily Wire that she was falsely accused of the act.
Avery Severson, a sophomore at the high school, told the outlet that a black student accused her of sending the racist messages. The Daily Wire said the accusing student, Precious Boahen, shared a screenshot of the messages with the caption, "I bet you a billion bucks this is Avery Severson or one of her friends all mad because they can't have their Turning Point club at school."
More from the outlet:
Severson said that over the past year she has been stonewalled by her school administration in an effort to create a Turning Point USA club. In contrast, Boahen was able to create a black student affinity group with relative ease. Boahen accused Severson of being jealous of her ability to successfully kickstart a club. [...]
Severson told The Daily Wire that she was in a driver's education class on Wednesday, April 7, when the conversations were posted to social media. She denied the accusations and said she would never have made such abhorrent comments. [...]
The Severson family met with White Bear Lake High School administrators who encouraged Severson to remain silent about the situation. Classmates, Severson says, took her silence on the matter as an admission of guilt and threatened her. Severson was escorted to and from classes until April 12.
The outlet said Boahen publicly posted an email she sent to White Bear Lake administrators threatening to spill the story to the media and take legal action.
"If swift and sweeping action is not taken, I will be contacting news outlets to let the public know how [the administration] really operates in this city, and I will be looking for legal action as well," Boahen wrote, according to the Daily Wire.
With that, the high school launched an investigation, the outlet said.
Severson added to the Daily Wire that she's afraid the "hoax" has destroyed her reputation among her peers and could upend her future political ambitions.
"This experience has been extremely hurtful, not only because I believe all racism is wrong, but because I was believed to be guilty with no evidence pointing to me," Severson told the outlet. "This has left me feeling unsafe at school as well as in my community. I feel this has hurt my reputation and could damage my future political goals."
The impact of the incident also has been heightened due to protests this week over the fatal shooting a Daunte Wright by police in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, as well as the ongoing murder trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd.
Here is Severson recounting her ordeal to Fox News: