District apologizes for student-led 'build the wall' chant at Woods Cross game

Tuesday , October 03, 2017 - 9:14 AM3 comments

ANNA BURLESON, Standard-Examiner Staff

WOODS CROSS — The Davis School District has issued an apology after students at a Woods Cross High School football game chanted “build the wall” Friday night.

The chant took place during a game against Bountiful High School and was in reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to build a wall on the border between the United States and Mexico. 

A statement via the district’s Twitter account said the student-led chant raised some “serious concerns.”

“Many introspective discussions have taken place at Woods Cross High since that time and school administrators, as well as students involved in the chant, apologize for it and will move forward in a greater effort to treat everyone with respect and kindness,” the statement said.

Videos of the chant have circulated on social media. In one video, a student appears to be holding a cardboard cutout of Trump and waving it around. 

“I don’t know what they were thinking,” district spokesman Chris Williams said. “I haven’t had any discussions with the students.”

Many have reacted with outrage online including Twitter user @gabyycole, who posted an 11 second video of the chanting. She wrote the implication of the chant went beyond a defense strategy for football, and her tweets spurred a long feed debating whether the behavior was racist.

Williams said Principal John Haning has met with student body leaders and the school’s Latino Students in Action club.

When asked if any disciplinary actions would be taken, Williams said he couldn’t share that due to federal student privacy laws.

Williams said the district is aware this behavior took place last school year, but it’s unclear at this point how often or for how long.

“I know the high school has received phone calls and emails, and that’s one of the reasons we issued the statement we did,” Williams said. “It’s very serious. We take it very seriously. We wanted to make sure this isn’t something we were just ignoring.”

Of the 1,497 students enrolled at Woods Cross High last year, 19 percent were students of color and 10 percent were Hispanic, according to Utah State Board of Education data. Of the 1,572 students at Bountiful High, 13 percent were students of color and 6 percent were Hispanic.

Contact education reporter Anna Burleson at aburleson@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnagatorB or like her on Facebook at Facebook.com/BurlesonReports.

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