School district investigating after Weber High students appear to use racial slur in video

Weber High School. Image: WSD.org

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PLEASANT VIEW, Utah, Oct. 17, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — Weber School District is investigating after a video was posted on Instagram that appears to show five students, three of them cheerleaders, shouting an expletive and a racial slur.

School district spokesman Lane Findlay said in a new release Tuesday morning that administrators learned about the video Monday night.

“It was brought to our attention there was a controversial video circulating on social media that possibly involved Weber High School students using racial slurs,” the news release said. “The short, 10-second video shows five teenagers in a vehicle and they appear to be casually shouting the f-word followed by the n-word.”

The teens in the video have been identified as students of Weber High School, in Pleasant View, the news release says. The students are juniors and seniors.

“We are shocked by the conduct of these students and the contents of the video,” the news release continues. “School officials have started an investigation and the matter is being taken very seriously.”

Administrators are trying to determine when the video was made, where it was filmed, and how the clip ended up on social media.

“Initial information suggests that the students may have actually been saying a different phrase, something similar to ‘surgeon cuff,'” the news release says. “The video was then possibly uploaded into an app that plays it backwards, producing an entirely different sounding phrase. In this case, a very derogatory, offense racial slur. Our IT department is working to confirm this.”

School officials are in the process of making contact with the students involved and their families.

“Those contacted have already expressed regret and are extremely apologetic for what has happened,” the news release says. “We recognize many of our students could be affected by the video.”

Officials met with counselors and staff at the school Tuesday morning, as well as the school’s 45-member student HOPE Squad.┬áHOPE Squads are comprised of students who are trained to watch for at-risk students, provide friendship, identify warning signs and seek help from adults.

“The purpose is to provide resources to students who may be upset and emotional affected by the video,” the news release said. “Weber High School has almost 2,000 students and the actions of a few students certainly do not reflect the values and standards of the rest of the school.

“Racism, whether intention or not, has no place in our schools or society. The Weber School District promises this incident will be thoroughly investigated and appropriate
action will be taken against any student who violates our code of conduct. We also wish to remind everyone that these are kids, and sometimes kids do really stupid things without thinking. Certainly, there are no excuses for this type of behavior, but they are still children in a sense and hopefully this will be a learning experience for them and others.”

The video has been widely shared on Facebook and Twitter, with many jumping in to condemn the content.

The news release concludes: “This situation also serves as a good reminder to students and parents on the potential consequences of videoing inappropriate and insensitive conduct, and then sharing it on social media. Once released, the effects can be far-reaching. More information will be released after the investigation is complete. No timeframe has been determined on when that may be.”

Gephardt Daily will have more on this developing story as information becomes available.

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