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Parents call out racist presentation at Waukee school

In an email to parents, the principal of Timberline School said the school district "will not tolerate hate speech or threatening messages."

WAUKEE, Iowa — Parents at Timberline School in Waukee are calling on the school and the Waukee Community School District to address a school presentation they say was offensive and inappropriate.

Pictures of the presentation shared online appear to show a presentation made by students with an opening slide titled, “Illegal Immigrants, Get Lost!”

Other slides read in part: 

  • “Main idea: send illegal immigrants back to where they came from.” 
  • “Why illegals should go home: They take jobs from legal American citizens. They aren’t even legal. It is unfair to the people who have to wait months to get in legally. There is a huge influx of Mexican rapists.” 
  • “In the end Mexicans are bad.”

Christopher Weihe and his wife Fabiola Schirrmeister say their ninth-grader was at Timberline on the day the presentation was made, although not in the class. The couple say they started receiving messages from other parents with pictures from the class. Upon reading the content, they decided to bring their three students from Waukee schools home early.

“We were very concerned about the safety of our kids,” Schirrmeister said. “As soon as we knew about this hate speech and racist and xenophobic presentation during class, he ran out so he could go and pick up the kids at school because we were like, this is not a safe environment for our kids anymore.”

“I go out to the school to pick up my kids because you never know what might happen on the school bus afterward,” Weihe said. ”What happens if someone starts talking about this and your kids aren't prepared to deal with that?"

The parents said after calling the school to find out what happened, an email from the principal was sent out later in the day. It read:

"Good afternoon Timberline Families, Students, and Staff, Today we had an incident in one of our classes during a presentation that was very concerning. There were images and language that are inappropriate for school. An investigation is currently underway into the entirety of the situation. To be clear, Timberline and Waukee Community School District will not tolerate hate speech or threatening messages in our buildings or classrooms. Sincerely, Adam Shockey"

The couple appreciates the investigation but wants to see more from the school district and school moving forward to open up conversations to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

“What I what I do want to see out of this is, how are we going to talk about these topics now?" Weihe told Local 5. “How are we going to bring families together within this community to speak about how they feel and what they've been told? And how we can share our point of view as well. And I hope no one else needs to go through this with any race or ethnicity to have to sit down."

"I can only imagine sitting down as a Mexican immigrant in that classroom, and being bombarded with the word illegal ridiculed with political propaganda, feeling that you can't do anything because the teacher is even there sitting in the presentation and hasn't stopped it.”

A second email from the school went out a day later apologizing for the incident, acknowledging it deeply impacted the school.

“First off, please know that our primary goal is to create a safe environment where deep levels of learning can occur,” Principal Adam Shockey wrote. “What occurred [Thursday] has deeply impacted our school, and racist and threatening language will continue to not be tolerated here at Timberline. We sincerely apologize that this occurred, and we continue to work through the process of addressing this, including assigning consequences where both necessary and appropriate.”

Shockey added the school is still examining consequences for those involved and is making counselors available for students who feel they need it. The Waukee Community School District told Local 5 the investigation is being handled within the building.

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