Southwick, Mass.: 6 Middle Schoolers Criminally Charged for ‘Mock Slave Auction’

In a Snapchat group titled “Black people are low class,” the Southwick Regional School students allegedly bid on their Black classmates.

Southwick, Mass.: 6 Middle Schoolers Criminally Charged for ‘Mock Slave Auction’

Photo: tashatuvango -

SOUTHWICK, Mass. — Six Massachusetts middle school students have been criminally charged for their alleged involvement in racial online bullying and threats.

According to Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni, the Southwick Regional School eighth-graders, who are White, held a “mock slave auction” to bid on their Black classmates in a Snapchat group titled “Black people are low class.” Derogatory racial remarks were also allegedly made against a female Black student.

During a March 14 news conference, Gulluni said the incident occurred on Feb. 8 and was reported to school authorities on Feb. 9, TND reports. A few days later, the students were suspended, including two for 25 days and one for 45 days.

The district then reported the incident to the Southwick Police Department and police informed the Juvenile Court Chief of the Hampden District Attorney’s Office. The students were each charged with threat to commit a crime. Two were also charged with interference with civil rights and one was charged with witness interference.

“I hope that this unequivocal message that hate and bullying will not be tolerated in this county will deter people from similar behavior,” Gulluni said. “I hope that communities will surround those affected by hate and bullying with support and love, so that victims become resilient survivors. I hope that people who make mistakes and those who witness them will learn from them so as not to repeat them. I hope that our collective efforts to promote empathy, compassion, and tolerance will overcome the forces of apathy, malice, and intolerance. This is not an issue exclusive to a place, or an age group, or a race. This is a universal issue that we must face as one, unified community. Let’s move forward with hope, resiliency, and a commitment to justice.”

Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School District Superintendent Jennifer Willard told 22News that the district concluded its investigation into the allegations on Feb. 16 and that “due to strict laws protecting student privacy, we are unable to comment on the specific disciplinary consequences and/or other steps taken.”

Springfield NAACP President Talbert Swan II denounced Willard’s response, stating, “How can you conclude the investigation without talking to the parties that filed the complaint? There needs to be a level of transparency in terms of what steps they are taking and how they are going about safeguarding students who are victimized by bullying and harassment.”

Allyson Lopez, the mother of one of the victims, met with school administrators on Feb. 22 to discuss a safety plan moving forward, according to 22News. Lopez stated she felt “profoundly disillusioned” after the meeting.

“It has become glaringly evident that there is a serious lack of understanding and commitment among the administrative leadership to ensure the safety and well-being of all students because of their race and or ethnicity,” she said.

If you appreciated this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

About the Author


Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

Leading in Turbulent Times: Effective Campus Public Safety Leadership for the 21st Century

This new webcast will discuss how campus public safety leaders can effectively incorporate Clery Act, Title IX, customer service, “helicopter” parents, emergency notification, town-gown relationships, brand management, Greek Life, student recruitment, faculty, and more into their roles and develop the necessary skills to successfully lead their departments. Register today to attend this free webcast!

One response to “Southwick, Mass.: 6 Middle Schoolers Criminally Charged for ‘Mock Slave Auction’”

  1. Valerie Yanford says:

    I’m a POC graduate of this high school and appreciate the continued information about this story.
    Not enough it’s being done by the school administration and I hope I can personally help to rectify that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Our Newsletters
Campus Safety Conference promo