High school students made a ‘Slave Trade’ Snapchat group and pretended to auction Black classmates, according to reports and officials

FILE PHOTO: The Snapchat app logo is seen on a smartphone in this picture illustration taken September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
The Snapchat app logo is seen on a smartphone in this illustration Reuters
  • Screenshots have surfaced from a racist Snapchat group for teens called “Slave Trade.”
  • One high schooler in the group is the subject of an investigation in an Oregon district.
  • Purported messages show the students pretending to auction off Black classmates.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A high school district outside Portland, Oregon is grappling with a student’s alleged participation in a racist Snapchat group called “Slave Trade,” where teens who are believed to live around the US purportedly used homophobic and racist slurs while pretending to auction off their Black classmates.

Newberg High School’s principal wrote about the incident in a letter to parents on Tuesday, while Oregon state representatives have condemned the district’s simultaneous ongoing push to ban Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ Pride flags in its schools.

Insider reviewed photos of the purported “Slave Trade” group chat that were posted on Instagram. The photos and post identified the Newberg High School student who allegedly participated in the group chat. In a comment, he acknowledged his participation in the chat and wrote that it took place two years ago.

The photos show the Newberg High School student sent a screenshot showing two of his Black classmates to the chat and captioned it “100$ each.” Another chat member responded “i’ll take them for 150 as the pair.”

Other pictures of Black teens were posted in the chat and members responded with racist and homophobic language, identifying some of the teens as gay and expressing a desire to kill them.

“All blacks should die,” another message says. “Let’s have another holocaust.”

Local Newberg reporter Ryan Clarke tweeted the pictures of the group chat with names and faces blocked out. According to Newberg High School principal Tami Erion, one student from the district was in the group chat, which the administration believes to have originated in Michigan in late 2020. Erion said that the Newberg student sent pictures of his Black classmates in the group.

Erion called the situation “very serious and inappropriate” and said that the Newberg community continues to grapple with issues of “diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.”

The superintendent of Newberg Public Schools Dr. Joe Morelock wrote in a note Wednesday that “racist and bullying behavior has no place in our schools or community.”

Oregon state representatives – the House Majority Leader and Education House Committee Chair – released a statement using the incident to rebuke the school district’s new and controversial policy banning Black Lives Matter and Pride symbols.

The flag policy has similarly drawn national headlines after a teacher took down her American flag in protest, according to the Newberg Graphic.

“Incidents like this are exactly what makes Black students feel like their lives don’t matter,” the representatives wrote in a statement, referring to the Snapchat case.

Students and parents at Newberg High School have reacted online to the group chat. Clarke shared one Facebook post purported to be written by a parent whose Black daughter attends the high school.

“It makes me weep to ever think about someone putting a photo of my precious daughter up on something so abhorrent,” she wrote. “It makes my heart break to see the faces of the young people who WERE put up in that group chat. And please do not ever tell me that racism isn’t alive and well in our country.”