ORR district administration responds to racist instagram account

Dec 9, 2020

Old Rochester Regional School District administration addressed racist posts from the now-defunct Instagram account @republicanatorr at a Dec. 9 ORR School Committee meeting. 

Writing in the posts from the account included racist overtones and allusions to slavery, according to a press release from Superintendent Michael Nelson. 

One post from the account that was shared to the Facebook group “Tri-Town Against Racism” featured the ORR Bulldog mascot wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, with a confederate flag in the background. The post also featured an emblem representing QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory group.

“While we recognize the importance of free speech and dialogue, racism has no place in our district,” Nelson said. 

A later post to the account’s Instagram story claimed the account was never meant to be taken seriously.  

“Yep, this account was a joke,” the follow-up post read. “We don’t actually believe the crazy anti-semitic or racist sh*t.” 

The follow-up post also included advocacy for the support of democratic candidates in the two January Senate runoff races taking place in Georgia. 

Officials said police were contacted regarding the account’s illegal use of the ORR mascot, and that a group video conversation including students will be conducted about the issue. 

“It’s awful and it really saddened me,” ORR Principal Michael Devoll said. 

But he added that the response from students in the district was swift, notifying the administration of the post and its contents. 

“The students’ response is what I don’t want to get lost,” Devoll said. “Our students immediately disavowed this post and did the right thing.”

The @republicanatorr Instagram account has since been taken down.