Weber schools ends investigation into racist video, students disciplined

Monday , October 23, 2017 - 5:05 PM3 comments

JESSICA KOKESH, Standard-Examiner Staff

PLEASANT VIEW — Weber High School had ended its investigation into a widely-circulated video of five students chanting a racial slur, but school officials can’t say what disciplinary actions were taken against the students. 

“The investigation has now concluded, and the school has taken appropriate action against the students. Since this action is now part of their student record and protected by federal and state privacy laws, we are prohibited from releasing the specific details,” Weber School District spokesman Lane Findlay in a news release Monday. 

RELATED: Weber schools investigating widely circulated video of teens saying racial slur

Last week, a video showing five Weber High School junior and senior girls shouting a racial slur was posted on social media, quickly gaining national attention. The video shows the girls, who appear to be in a vehicle, yelling (f-------) (n------). The video appears to be played backwards and its caption — a seemingly nonsensical phrase — suggests the students were saying words that, when played backwards, resulted in the profanity.

“Although the students reported they were just playing around and it wasn’t directed at any particular person, it doesn’t excuse the fact they knew what the words sounded like when they recorded it and played it backwards,” Findlay said in the release, adding that the girls have “expressed sincere regret for their actions and have been very apologetic.”

The students filmed the video over a year ago while on fall break, Findlay said, and it was later posted to a private social media account by the students. The video was not related to a school function and was recorded outside of school.

Findley said the district doesn’t normally get involved in student conduct issues that occur outside of school, but because the video caused “substantial disruption” at school and affected many students, officials decided to investigate. Three of the five students were also cheerleaders, who have to sign a code of conduct that applies to misconduct outside of school.

“Even though young people sometimes do things without really thinking it through, it’s important that we correct inappropriate behavior and help them understand the potential consequences of their actions,” Findley said. “It’s also critical that we try and prevent these types of things from ever happening again.”

Weber School District is looking into several different options for sensitivity and anti-discrimination training for students and staff, the release says.

Reach digital producer Jessica Kokesh at 801-625-4229 or jkokesh@standard.net. You can also follow her on Twitter at @JessicaKokesh or Facebook.com/ByJessKokesh.

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