Minnesota student Avery Severson, a sophomore at White Bear Lake High School near St. Paul, Minnesota, has spoken out about the emotional trauma she experienced when falsely accused of sending threatening racist messages to Black classmates, an incident which has now been exposed as a hoax, dailymail.com reports.
"I was just shocked when I saw that they were accusing me, and I felt unsafe," Severson told Fox News Friday. "I felt unsafe at school."
A Black classmate, Precious Boahen, accused Severson of sending racist direct messages via group chat on Instagram, triggering an uproar at the school and a subsequent walkout against racism by students and teachers. But after the school administration, the FBI and the local police department investigated, district Superintendent Wayne Kazmierczak sent an email concluding that the messages were "a hoax sent under false pretense" and adding that the student who sent the posts "poses no threat to our students of color."
Screenshots of the alleged conversation show the anonymous account using racial slurs. To date, the owner of the account has not been revealed.
Severson told Fox News that about a year ago, she was "inspired" by a video from Charlie Kirk, co-founder of Turning Point USA, a conservative student group, and has worked to start a chapter at her high school. The school told her she needed at least 20 students to start the club.
"And the last couple of weeks, we got close to that number, and then these rumors online started going around about me, accusing me of sending racist, terrible, hateful messages to a Black student at my school, with no evidence pointing to me," Severson said, adding that she had an escort walk her to and from class and also felt unsafe in her community.
Bear Lake City Manager Ellen Hiniker confirmed to Newsweek Friday via email that the accusations were false.
"It is not Avery Severson," Hiniker wrote. "That is a very misinformed rumor fueled by social media. White Bear Lake Police Captain Dale Hager confirmed that the accusations against Severson had no basis in fact, saying, "I would stand by that as well."
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