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Racist comments lead to lockdown at Owatonna High

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Owatonna High School officials ordered a lockdown Monday after an incident prompted by what the superintendent described as racist comments posted on social media.

Police in the southern Minnesota city say initial reports indicate a few white students posted racist comments towards black students. When officers arrived at the school, they found students shouting and being disruptive. Two juveniles were taken into custody, and a third was cited for trespassing.

"Some students were kind of emotional about a situation that had occurred, and we felt like we needed to have some assistance to help bring order and safety back to our high school," said Jeff Elstad, the school district superintendent.

Elstad said he has been communicating with parents about monitoring their children's social media and is thinking about ways to promote racial harmony in Owatonna's schools.

"Things like this, as unfortunate as they are, offer us another opportunity to pause and say we need to continue to work and get this message in front of not only our students but our community about the fact that we all belong here and it's important for us to respect and embrace one another," Elstad said.

The police department said it continues to investigate. Owatonna Public schools were closed on Tuesday due to winter weather conditions.