Another AirDrop incident reported at OPRF

This one, though, not racial in nature, officials say

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By Michael Romain

Staff Reporter

Oak Park and River Forest High School District 200 officials have completed an investigation into another incident involving Apple's AirDrop feature, which allows users to send messages to phones nearby; however, this most recent incident, which happened Friday, did not involve hate speech, officials said. 

"The content of the message was determined to be a meme showing hardware and electrical accessories with the words 'white power accessories' above it," according to an email sent to OPRF families on Dec. 7. 

District officials said that the AirDrop was "confined to one classroom and all students present at the time were interviewed. Of the three students who acknowledge receiving the message, they all reported to have declined it." 

Shortly after starting an investigation into the incident, officials received an anonymous tip from a student who admitted having accidentally shared the AirDrop message "to students other than one who consented to receiving it." 

That student has since "apologized for any confusion the error," OPRF officials said in the statement. 

 "While hate speech was not involved, we felt it was important to share," the statement reads. 

This isn't the only time the term "white power accessories" has caused confusion. In 2016, a newspaper in the UK reported that there had been public outcry after someone posted to social media the photo of a shelf placard reading "white power accessories" hanging in one of the store's aisles. 

The sign, it turns out, had been advertising "white goods," which typically describes large electrical appliances like refrigerators and washing machines that are usually white.

The letter OPRF officials sent out Friday did not go into detail about the context of the AirDrop message or the student's intentions for sending it.  

Friday's incident happened roughly a month after a student used AirDrop to send the image of a swastika from somewhere in the high school's auditorium to students' cell phones during an assembly.  

After OPRF and law enforcement officials conducted an investigation, a 15-year-old OPRF student was harassment through electronic communication. The student appeared before a judge last month before being released into the custody of his parents. 


Reader Comments

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John Sheehan  

Posted: December 11th, 2018 5:23 PM

Ramona, clearly my comment annoyed you. That is no excuse for hurling personal insults. Do not assume anything other than what I wrote. I proposed nothing of the sort, least of all tit-for-tat justice. Your use of "WhatAbotIsm" is beneath my dignity.. Suffice to say your choice of examples to toss in my face speaks volumes about you.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: December 11th, 2018 11:04 AM

I stand corrected Mr. Sheehan. "A 14-year-old faces charges of dissemination of an obscene image for allegedly using an iPhone to AirDrop an illustration of a swastika to other students at Oak Park-River Forest High School Friday. Police say the teen is set to appear in Cook County Juvenile Court on Nov. 14."

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: December 11th, 2018 9:59 AM

Mr. Sheehan, You say words "charged and convicted" as if this juvenile went to court, was put on trial and found guilty. Your words clearly demonstrate your delusion. I'm curious if you are equally enraged when black youth are arrested for discharging a firearm and receive no more than a "slap on the wrist". Are you critical of their parents and the administration of the schools they attend? What do you mean by "zero tolerance"? Does it mean this student gets kicked out of school, never to return and spends a couple years in the largest juvenile detention center in the U.S. on Ogden Ave.? Are we to have different standards for white students? Is being white in Oak Park become a sort of "original sin" now?

John Sheehan  

Posted: December 10th, 2018 6:02 PM

We have seen what happens when a white student is charged and convicted of a hate crime...a slap on the wrist. Why should anyone be surprised when a similar incident reoccurs. Although this recent electronic message doesn't rise to the definition of overt "white power" signaling it is obvious that the high school well as some parents apparently...are failing to pass along our values to the youth of our community. Or maybe I have it all wrong and these ARE the values of our community, we've just been in denial. It's up to us as a community to make it abundantly way or another...exactly where we stand. If zero tolerance for this sort of thing is not the answer, then I for one am disappointed with us...and downright fearful of our future

Nick Polido  

Posted: December 10th, 2018 9:45 AM

Ok, so far we've collared a 14 year old and now a 15 year old. In both these incidents I received 10 e-mails from the school to brief me that my student is safe, not to mention this papers participation in this fervor that we our facing a renewed Kristallnacht.

Drew Rein  

Posted: December 10th, 2018 9:27 AM

The kids should turn off their bluetooth. Airdrops will cease and bluetooth is insecure.

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