Racist flyers unnerve Portland school students

Students at Hosford encountered problems at bus stop

Hosford Middle School in Portland, June 9, 2017 (KOIN)
Hosford Middle School in Portland, June 9, 2017 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Racist flyers posted near a Portland school, coupled with 2 men hurling racist invective at students spurred 2 different schools to send letters home to parents.

The incident took place after school Thursday at a public bus stop at Division and 28th, near Hosford Middle School.

In the first of 2 letters to parents, Principal Kristyn Westphal wrote: “…one of our students of color was verbally accosted by two White males who yelled racist epithets, including the N-word. This was witnessed by other students.”

Police were called and Westphal said a school presence will be kept at the bus stop through the end of the school year.

In a second letter Friday morning, Westphal said they will ask students if they heard about the incident, then share the facts of what happened and make sure they know there will be an adult presence at the bus stop.

The school’s art classes will be collecting posters against hate, which will be posted by the end of the day.

King School principal Jill Sage also sent a letter to parents. She wrote, in part:

“I am as horrified, saddened and outraged as many of you about the hateful flyers that were posted near our school. I am so sorry that your students were subjected to the flyers and the racist messages they contained.”

Sage said both the police and FBI are investigating the flyers and there will be security at school. However, the school carnival planned for Friday night has been canceled.

In a statement Friday afternoon, Mayor Ted Wheeler said:

“Our city, just two weeks removed from a national tragedy, has experienced a number of incidents this week clearly motivated by hate. Threats to the Good in the Hood festival in the heart of Albina, targeting communities of color, particularly black Portlanders. Reports today of racist language directed at a middle school child.

“This is unconscionable.

“The troubling fact is that these incidents are part of an historic and troubling pattern in Portland and across our state. In the days following last year’s election, the Southern Policy (sic) Law Center counted more hate incidents in Oregon than other state in America.

“We are in communication with local school districts, the Governor’s office, and are actively working with local, state, and federal law enforcement. We are doing all we can to investigate these recent incidents and protect our residents who are living under threat. If you have any information that could assist investigators, please contact the Portland Police Bureau.

“These times can be terrifying… I’ve spoken to many people who are scared. We have a tremendous opportunity to come together to ensure that everyone is welcome in our city, and we all live in safety and with dignity.

“Please, let’s continue to stand up for one another.”