UPDATE: A St. Francis parent announced a demonstration at the high school's entrance is set for 1-2:30 p.m. Monday, June 8. The Facebook event announcement says it's in protest of "the outrageous behavior (of) current and former students from SFHS."
St. Francis High School officials released a statement Thursday condemning what they call a "highly offensive" and "racist" Instagram account linked to recent graduates of the school, promising an investigation and disciplinary action.
In the letter to families of the private school in Mountain View, St. Francis president Jason Curtis and Principal Katie Teekell wrote that the school worked with Instagram to take the account down, and that they are taking immediate steps to investigate who was involved.
"We are outraged and sickened by the content, and deeply sorry for the trauma and pain it has caused to our community," according to the letter.
The announcement does not detail the nature of the social media posts, but states that allegations or incidents of racism and other offensive behavior are in "direct contradiction" to the values of the Catholic school. School officials say the rare step of publicly announcing student disciplinary action indicates the seriousness of the incident and its impact on the community.
"We will continue to take seriously and respond strongly to this behavior whenever we encounter it, and appreciate your trust and partnership," the letter states.
Curtis said in an email that the school is not releasing further details on the nature of the social media content or how many students were involved, citing a pending investigation. He also declined to detail how the school would take disciplinary action against students who have already graduated.
Civil unrest over racial injustice and police brutality reached a fever pitch last week after protests over the death of George Floyd erupted in all 50 states across the country. Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25, when the officer pressed his right knee into Lloyd's neck for nearly nine minutes.
The officer has since been charged with second-degree murder, and three other officers involved in the incident have also been charged with aiding and abetting murder.
There have been a series of largely peaceful protests for the past week, with a demonstration Monday where hundreds of protesters -- mostly students -- marched from Menlo Park to join a Palo Alto protest. That demonstration splintered into groups marching into East Palo Alto, briefly blocking major roads and Highway 101 while chanting and holding signs in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Similar demonstrations took place throughout the Bay Area, some of which sparked violent confrontations with police and property damage, leading several cities and San Mateo County to impose curfews.
St. Francis school officials say the school has been working with its student leaders to take a progressive stance on racial injustice, and is preparing to launch a compilation of resources for students, teachers and families to take action.