'Racist' social media comments lead to lockdown at Owatonna Senior High

Owatonna Senior High School was placed on lockdown Monday as school officials and law enforcement worked to "de-escalate" a situation that started with "racially offensive" comments on social media. 

The Owatonna Police Department said a few white students posted racist comments on social media over the weekend directed towards black students at the school. The police department described the posts as “hateful.” 

Shay Baumbach, a spokesperson for Owatonna Public Schools said things escalated once students were at school on Monday. Local law enforcement was called to the school to “de-escalate” the situation. 

When authorities arrived, they saw a large group of students shouting and “being disruptive” in the commons area and the gymnasium, according to the police department. The school was placed on lockdown at 12:30 p.m. 

The police department said “not all students were cooperative” with officers. Two juveniles were taken into custody, one for assaulting a police officer and the other for obstructing the legal process. A third juvenile was cited and released for trespassing. 

The lockdown was lifted at 1:30 p.m. 

Authorities had started investigating the social media comments over the weekend. The investigation is ongoing. 

Full letter to parents from Owatonna Public Schools

The safety and wellbeing of our students and staff is our number one priority. This message is to inform you that this afternoon at approximately 12:30 p.m. the Owatonna Senior High School was placed in lockdown.  

This past weekend, students turned to social media to make offensive comments. Today, the Owatonna Public Schools administration in conjunction with local law enforcement responded to assist in de-escalating a situation. No weapons were reported in this incident. An investigation began this past weekend and will continue until this issue has been resolved. 

This incident and lockdown was for Owatonna Senior High School only, no other district buildings were impacted.

Owatonna Public Schools administration and staff will continue to provide a safe environment and make safety our number one priority.