Weber School District issues statement after investigation of students’ ‘racial slur’ video

Weber High School. Image: WSD.org

PLEASANT VIEW, Utah, Oct. 23, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — The investigation into five Weber High School students who appeared in a controversial video has concluded, and the school has taken “appropriate action against the students,” according to Weber School District.

“This investigation involved interviewing students with their parents and extensive fact gathering,” the school district stated in a news release Monday.

In the release, the district said it was determined that the 10-second video clip, in which the girls appear to be using a racial slur, was recorded about a year ago while the students were on fall break.

The video had no connection to any school function, was recorded away from school property, and was posted to a private social media account by one of the students, where other students saw it and eventually shared it on other social media sites.

The statement goes on to say it is believed the students made the video by repeatedly saying “sergin cuff,” a nonsensical phrase that, when played backwards sounds like the “f-word, n-word.”

The district said it normally doesn’t get involved in issues of student conduct outside of school, unless the conduct causes a disruption or endangers others.

“In this particular case, the video that was made created a substantial disruption at Weber High School and adversely affected many students, including some of our minority students,” the district stated.

It also points out that students involved in extracurricular activities such as athletics, cheerleading, and student government represent the school and, because of that, are held to a higher standard.

Three of the five students shown in the video were also on the Weber High cheerleading squad and each had signed a code of conduct, the district said, adding, “Provisions of that agreement apply to specific misconduct both on and off campus.”

The district said the students expressed sincere regret and apologized for making the video, which the girls said was “just playing around” and wasn’t directed at any particular person. The district also said this doesn’t excuse the fact that the girls knew what the video would sound like when played backwards.

“Racism in any form, whether intentional or not, has no place in our schools or society,” the district stated.

Any disciplinary action taken against the girls is now part of their student record, which is protected by federal and state privacy laws, according to the statement. This prohibits the district from releasing specific details.

The statement concludes with:

Our district is looking at several different options as far as sensitivity and anti-discrimination training that we could provide to students and staff. One program we’re considering is the “SPIRIT” program offered by the U.S. Department of Justice that brings students, schools and communities together. We are now moving forward with the resolve to try and make the best of a very negative situation.

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