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School newspaper article gives pre-teen students advice for BLM protests, offers different rules for white students — like don't speak

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Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

A Minneapolis middle school's student paper is under fire after it advised kids how to participate in Black Lives Matter protests — and specified certain rules for white pupils to follow.

What are the details?

According to a report from Fox News, the Feb. 15 issue of Justice Page Middle School's Rhino Report featured an article titled "Protest Tips and Etiquette."

The Rhino Report, according to the district, is a "publication of Minneapolis Public Schools Community Education" and which "represents the viewpoints of students."

The guide began, "After the murder of Amir Locke at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department on Tuesday February 2nd, many of us are — and have been — taking to the streets to protest this injustice."

The tips include wearing nondescript clothing, bringing first aid kits and pain relief pills such as ibuprofen, and —but only if you're white — avoiding addressing people during the protest.

The article stated, "Wear nondescript clothing. Even if you aren't breaking the law, law enforcement may still try to come after you, in these situations it's better to be paranoid than careless."

"When it comes to Black Lives Matter protests, if you're not black, remember that you're there to show your support and amplify black voices," the article continued. "ESPECIALLY if you're white, if they're offering the megaphone for anyone to speak, it's not for you. You are here to listen and to show support."

The article continued, "You're free to document things with your phone, but please don't post anything with people's faces/identifying information in them, especially if it's someone doing art/graffiti."

In the event of an arrest, the article advised, "[i]nvoke your right to remain silent, ask for a lawyer, don't consent to police searching your phone, don't consent to a DNA sample (they might say it's standard procedure, it's not), insist that they give you a mask, if you're held for more than 48 hours, it's most likely an illegal detention, which is a violation of your Fourth Amendment Rights."

What else is there to know about this?

The article followed the shooting death of 22-year-old Amir Locke, who was killed during a no-knock warrant raid — which the article said was "murder." The raid was carried out in connection with a possibly related murder in St. Paul, Minnesota, though Locke himself was not named in the warrant. Four days before the police shooting, authorities arrested Locke's cousin, 17-year-old Mehki Camden Speed in Winona and charged him with two counts of second-degree murder in connection with the St. Paul case, which is still being investigated.

An investigation into the Locke shooting remains underway, and no charges have been brought against law enforcement at the time of this reporting.

Parents Defending Education Director of Outreach Erika Sanzi told the outlet that it is "inappropriate" for the school system to be circulating such advice to pre-teens "especially when it is for particular causes and varies based on students' race."

"It is also a problem that it was done behind the backs of parents," Sanzi added.

In a statement on the article, the district told the outlet that Minneapolis Public Schools values and encourages students to use their voices to speak out about things that matter to them.

"The Rhino Report newsletter is a student publication that was written by students in an after school community education program," the district's statement continued. "The publication represents the viewpoints of students, very similar to an editorial written for a newspaper."

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