Tensions mount at OHS | JEFFREY JACKSON, owatonna.com
Monday’s altercation between four white students and a group of Somali students — how many Somalis were actively involved is in dispute — ended with one of the white students going to the hospital. The student, a senior at OHS, spent the night in the hospital after medical personnel feared that he might have swelling on the brain.
The high school students and their parents spoke on the condition of anonymity, saying they feared further threats and violence if their names were made public.
Although the actual fight between the white students and the Somali students happened Monday, the parties agree that the roots of the fight can be traced back to a paper written for an English composition class earlier in the month.
The senior who ended up in the hospital on Monday was given an assignment to write a paper for the class and post it on the class’ blog for other students to read and comment on. He posted the paper on Friday, Nov. 6.
He chose as his topic what he called “Somalian privileges” and wrote in his paper that the Somali students in the high school were allowed to “bend the rules.” As one example, he said that though most students weren’t allowed to wear hats in school, the Somali students routinely wore hats without being told to take them off.
Within a half hour, after the class had been dismissed, he was surrounded by a “pretty big group” of Somali students who had been given copies of the paper from other students in the class, the boy said. The Somalis were, the boy said, “pushing, yelling and asking questions” — specifically asking him if he had written the paper.
The boy, who is on work release allowing him to leave school early, left and went to the place where his mother works. A few hours later, the mother received a telephone call from one of the school’s vice principals who first informed the mother about the incident and about the paper that had been posted online.
“No threats were made,” OHS Vice Principal Julie Sullivan said Wednesday about the Nov. 6th incident. Sullivan did say that she was approached that day by several Somali students who were upset about what the boy had written on the class blog.
The next Tuesday — there were no classes on Monday — the boy and his mother met with Sullivan after the vice principal had called Monday evening requesting a meeting. At that meeting, Sullivan informed the pair that the boy was going to be suspended for four days because of what he had written in the paper.
“I was not happy for him writing that paper,” the mother said. But, she said, although the official paperwork says the boy was being suspended for “language and inappropriate comments” and that the vice president did talk “briefly” about the paper, the real reason the boy was suspended was concerns by the administration that the boy might be attacked if he remained in school.
“She mentioned that several times,” the mother said of Sullivan. “She said it was for his safety.”
What’s more, he said, on the weekend before the boy returned to school, the boy sent text messages to some Somali students — messages that Johnson characterized as “inflammatory.”
The boy’s mother acknowledged Wednesday that she had been told this week about the text messages, but said that the message was only that the boy was not going to apologize to the Somali students for what he had written in his paper.
Shortly after the boy returned to school Monday, the incident began. The boy was sitting with three of his friends in the school’s C Plaza when, he said, he was approached by a group of Somali students.
“They were out for blood,” one of his friends said.
The boys said that at least 30, perhaps as many as 40, Somali students were involved in the altercation. School officials dispute that number, saying that some of the Somalis who were there were bystanders who were watching the fight take place. Owatonna Police Chief Shaun LaDue, whose department is investigating the incident, said Wednesday that “no less than 20 people” were involved in some fashion in the incident.
There’s more to that story too – read it all.
This is how it creeps folks. In big cities and small towns. You cannot say anything about Muslims – they are indeed privileged. If you do say something, be prepared to fight for your life and livelihood, possibly die, certainly have your life disrupted, end up in court, and be labeled things you likely are not.