The Newport-Mesa Unified School District said Friday that it is investigating a series of “overtly racist” messages shared in a private Instagram group chat that included students from Newport Harbor High School in Newport Beach.
In a statement sent to parents and the Newport Harbor community, the district stated that though “these online interactions are not school-related, we address them as they come to our attention and when they impact the school. We are in the process of gathering information.”
In a screenshot of one exchange that a student shared with the Daily Pilot, a participant in the conversation asked others if they “wanted anything from alabama/mississippi? I’ll get you a real confederate flag.”
One person wrote back, “Omfg yes plz,” while another wrote, “What do you want? Do they still sell black people down there?”
The first participant replied, “If they do, I’ll get everyone a new plantation worker.”
One person who saw the exchange wrote on social media that “Newport Harbor is really the home of some sketchy ... people.… [T]hese are Newport students.”
Another responded to criticism of the posts by writing, “First of all, we are not racist people at all; the people who posted this literally don’t like us and are trying to make us look bad for everything. I’m tired of people always attacking us.”
The incident comes two months after a highly publicized incident in which students from Newport Harbor, Costa Mesa and Estancia high schools were pictured on social media at an off-campus party gathered around a swastika made from plastic cups with their their arms outstretched in a Nazi salute.