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Baraboo in Sauk County, Wisconsin

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UPDATED: 9:30 a.m. ET, June 10

Wisconsin Police have charged a father with disorderly conduct after he put his hands on a Black superintendent during his daughter’s graduation.

According to WMTV, Baraboo police filed the charge in a Sauk County court last week and released a police report giving insight into the man’s motives, calling them “pre-planned.”

The School District of Baraboo launched an investigation after the father of a graduating senior at Baraboo High School grabbed district Superintendent Rainey Briggs before his daughter could receive her congratulatory handshake from the school official.

According to the police report, obtained by WMTV, the charged parent told the police he and his child “have had past issues with Rainey and disliked him.” The father also said he “wanted to prevent Rainey from having the satisfaction of shaking” his child’s hand, “so he went onto the stage to prevent that from happening.”

During an interview with police, Superintendent Rainey Briggs told officers he didn’t know who the parent was until days after the incident. He also told authorities he had “no idea why (the parent) reacted the way he did.”

Blacks for Political and Social Action of Dane County, Inc. condemned the incident suggesting no one had Dr. Briggs’ best interest at heart.

“After Dr. Briggs was pushed out of the way and prevented from doing his job, it does not appear that anyone checked on Dr. Briggs’ welfare, and he was forced to continue on amid this trauma,” David A. Hart, president of the group, told WMTV. “While this incident could certainly have race-neutral explanations, the treatment of Dr. Briggs looks all too familiar to us.”

Video of the incident released on social media shows the man, who is wearing a white polo shirt and baseball cap, running on stage after his daughter is handed her diploma. He then grabs Superintendent Briggs and pushes him away as his daughter works her way down the line shaking school official’s hands. 

“That’s my daughter,” the man can be heard saying after shoving Briggs out of frame. 

“You better get up off me man. Get away from me bro” Briggs can be heard telling the man as other school officials and two police officers escort the man off stage. 

“Our primary focus remains on celebrating the achievements of our graduates. We want to ensure that the significance of this milestone and the hard work of our students are not overshadowed by this unfortunate event,” a district spokesperson said in a statement to WKOW.

“We would like to emphasize that the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and community members is a top priority… The School District of Baraboo is taking this incident very seriously.”

Baraboo High School has a well-documented history of racist claims.

In 2018, a picture of high school students in Baraboo, Wisconsin, flashing the Nazi salute was posted online. According to WPR, the photo was taken during the Class of 2019’s junior prom. It sparked outrage online as well as in the local community. 

In 2020, Baraboo student Dasia Banks filed a discrimination lawsuit against the school district after she said they ignored her years of complaints about multiple sexual assaults and a pattern of racial discrimination, according to Wiscnews.

From Wiscnews:

The lawsuit filed in early 2020 outlined a pattern of racist taunts and harassment directed at Banks by other students beginning in first grade, when she was teased about the texture of her hair and skin color, and continuing on through her freshman year. The Bankses moved away twice during that time because of the racial harassment, but family circumstances brought them back both times.


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