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What Exactly Is Going on in Minnetonka Schools?

Plus FOIA overload, caucus errors, and Amir Locke's funeral in today's Flyover.

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Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Students Blast School’s Weak Anti-Racist Stance

Students and community members are putting Minnetonka High School in the spotlight after the district’s attempt to quickly punish a student and brush an (alleged but very well-documented) racist incident under the table. The ordeal reportedly involved a girl’s basketball player who called three Black students the N-slur and told them to kill themselves. When the athlete received a one-day suspension, students went public, sharing their frustration at their school’s shitty handling of the incident. Since then, a handful of basketball games have been canceled due to planned protests at the events, and Leah Dasovich, the team’s coach, has stepped down for the season. “It’s very telling that the school’s response has gotten better only after the public is starting to be informed,” a student told Bring Me the News yesterday. Meanwhile, in New Prague, hometown fans are accused of taunting visiting players from Robbinsdale Cooper with monkey noise during a Tuesday night game. The New Prague Area Schools is investigating.

FOIA = Fake Outrage Incites “Activists”

Conservative groups sure aren’t being conservative with their record requests. Education-focused news site the 74 has a story today on Minnesota schools and their struggle to keep up with data requests—some from conservatively aligned law firms, others from residents who’ve protested pandemic protocols at school board meetings—on everything from “critical race theory” to COVID-19 protocols. The requests have “skyrocketed” over the last six months, the 74 reports, and as the Mankato Free Press wrote earlier this year, seem to be “politically motivated” and “designed to bury districts.” Axios breaks the reporting down here, pulling out some interesting and frustrating facts. (For example, Rochester School District says it will cost $900,000 to fulfill a request from one conservative group on a range of subjects that includes anything with “a sociological or cultural theme.”) It’s a showdown between educators who are already strapped for time and funding and FOIA advocates who worry this’ll lead to weaker open records laws.

GOP Caucus Goofs May Stall Campaigns

Here’s a word problem for you: If over 35,000 people attended the Minnesota GOP precinct caucuses earlier this month, but fewer than 18,000 voted in the straw ballot for governor, then who fucked up, how much, and why? Republicans, who seem these days to believe that any election they lose must have been rigged, are of course livid at the discrepancy: Gubernatorial candidates Neil Shah and Kendall Qualls are calling for a full audit. And unlike every audit, recount, and lawsuit that followed the 2020 election, the Minnesota Reformer reports, they might have a point this time. (Though we can certainly understand 17K people looking at the candidates on offer and choosing to beat the traffic instead of voting.) “How else can we as a party claim to stand up for election integrity when there are issues that we ourselves are facing behind closed doors?” Qualls thundered hilariously righteously. LOL seriously dude, when has that ever been a problem for you guys?

Locke Funeral Today

The funeral of Amir Locke is being held in north Minneapolis today, and really what else is there for us to say that won’t sound self-righteous or maudlin, and how can we report on it without seeming voyeuristic? We can list the speakers: Rev. Al Sharpton will deliver the eulogy while Ben Crump, attorney for the Locke family, will offer a “call to justice.” We can quote Locke’s family: His aunt, Linda Tyler, said training was not the answer to racism in the police force—“You cannot train away racism.” We can say again that the police shouldn’t have burst into the apartment where Locke was sleeping and killed him. And we can offer sympathy for a family whose grief is compounded by the burden of becoming a news event.