Young people are using social media to call out or expose racist behavior by their peers. A recent New York Times article mentioned San Marcos High School as one of several schools across the nation whose students are taking part in the growing trend.
Recent San Marcos graduate Oseas Garcia, part of a generation that grew up with a phone and an Instagram account, said there can be consequences on both sides.
“Understanding the importance of a digital footprint, because everything you put on social media will stay there forever,” said Garcia.
Lately, social media has been a place for people to join the worldwide movement against systemic racism, but it's long been a breeding ground for bullying and crude content.
Social media call-out pages that post snippets of racist behavior seem to be a mix of it all. Garcia told NBC7 he knows dozens of people from San Marcos High and surrounding high schools featured in the posts.
“Just calling them out. Just telling them some racist stuff. Telling them they’re ignorant,” said Garcia. “I was disappointed in the person, but just looking long-term, it could destroy a person’s life.”
The posts reveal faces, names, personal information, and in some cases have had severe consequences. Garcia said one of his friends had their college admission revoked.
“We may never know, like what if they did that two years ago as a freshman. And now they’re a junior and they have changed so much, done so much for the community, why not give them a second chance?” he wondered.
The San Marcos Unified School District responded to NBC7 with the following statement:
"Within the San Marcos Unified School District, we recognize that racism, in all of its forms, is a challenge faced by people of color across our nation, our state and our local communities. Addressing and eradicating systems and behaviors that prevent our students from success cannot be postponed and is one we plan on taking on together—for our students, for our community, for our world.
The very definition of community implies inclusion and this reality begs us to do more for the wellbeing of our students and their family members. To our Black students, colleagues, families and community members of color that grapple with the notion of ‘safety, opportunity, and access’ on a daily basis, please know that, in our community, you are embraced, loved and supported. We are cognizant that we must do much more.
We want all of our students to feel welcomed and included at all of our schools. San Marcos High School is addressing all inappropriate/racist social media posts that have been shared and are using these as teachable moments. To be clear, we will implement a multilayered approach toward eradicating racism in our learning community.
To this end, we will work to educate ourselves, our students, and our school communities on the harmful and traumatic effects that centuries of racism and oppression have had on the Black community. We will listen to those affected to identify and co- construct solutions. We will be allies to our Black students and students of color and their families. We will actively work to ensure to the best of our ability that San Marcos Unified School District is a place where our Black students, and all students of color, race, religion, and sexual orientation are respected, valued and treated equally and equitably by all members of this school community.
It is imperative that now, more than ever, we come together as a community to reflect upon our own role and embrace the power we have as educators to ensure we create a system that supports ALL of our students’ multidimensional needs driven by equity, where unequivocally ‘all means all."