Weber School District needs to stand up for students of color

Tuesday , October 24, 2017 - 4:15 AM17 comments

STANDARD-EXAMINER EDITORIAL BOARD

According to the Utah State Board of Education, eight African-Americans attended Weber High School in 2016.

That means last fall, when five Weber High students made a Snapchat of themselves chanting “f--- n----rs,” they almost equalled the school’s entire black enrollment.

What are those eight African-American students supposed to think about their school? Or, for that matter, the community in which they live?

  • RELATED: “Weber schools ends investigation into racist video, students disciplined”

The Weber School District announced Monday it had “taken appropriate action” against the girls in the video. But it needs to do more than that.

It needs to stand up for students of color.

When one of the girls in the video shared it as a private post in early October, other Weber High students saw it and circulated it on social media. It went viral.

At least three of the girls are cheerleaders. All the girls in the car were white.

In 2016, so were another 1,648 Weber Warriors.

District officials said all the right things Oct. 16 when they announced an investigation.

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

“Racism, whether intentional or not, has no place in our schools or society,” the district said in a news release. “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.”

District officials concluded their investigation quickly. Although state and federal laws prevent them from from sharing details about student discipline, they said in a news release Monday, Oct. 23, they’re reviewing options for “sensitivity and anti-discrimination training.”

When they chanted f--- n----rs,” the girls in that car shouted their profanities at the eight African-Americans attending Weber High School. Even if they didn’t specify them by name, they still brutalized eight schoolmates.

It is not enough to discipline students for making a racist video. Nor is it enough to require sensitivity training for district students and staff.

It’s a start, but only a start.

The Weber School District needs assert the dignity of all students. It needs to state in no uncertain terms the girls’ video was wrong.

It needs to stand up for students of color.

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