Parents of students at a Florida high school are enraged after a racist video went viral on social media, then school administrators flubbed their response to it.
An edited version of the Snapchat video shared with News4Jax shows two white students—one wearing a Ku Klux Klan-style white hood—laughing and using racial slurs seemingly aimed toward their Yulee High School classmates.
The video was sent to a group of Black students who confronted the kids seen in the video, which led to a physical altercation, the school district’s assistant superintendent told the news outlet.
The assistant superintendent said the student who shared the video and those who confronted the students in it were reprimanded. Parents of the students who confronted the filmmakers said they were suspended for five days. Meanwhile, nothing happened to the students who appeared in the video, the school district confirmed.
Now, parents are upset with school administrators for handling the situation unfairly. They met on Wednesday night to discuss the controversy.
“The purpose of this meeting is to make sure we are all moving as one, aligned on the goal, establish an effective way to communicate, and most importantly, the beginning steps of positive forward progress,” said parent Melissa Ricks in a Facebook post.
One parent accused Principal Yvon Joinville of flubbing the situation.
“Basically his fear is this going public, not that it’s been mishandled, not that they didn’t address the real issue at hand. None of the above,” the parent, who was not identified, told News4Jax in Jacksonville. “It’s that he doesn’t want the public knowing about this.”
The video was sent to Black students then widely circulated at the school, parents told local news outlets. Ricks, whose son was sent the video and was one of the students suspended, said she believed the school has an underlying issue of racism.
“All we need is an administration that cares about the issues and is willing to publicly bring awareness to our students and our community, that they are actively looking for ways and resolutions to bring in the parents, bring in the students, and figure out a way to bring these kids together and stop allowing the separation,” she told News4Jax.
In a statement released Oct. 22, Nassau County School District Assistant Superintendent Mark Durham said the district and high school “want to make it clear that acts of discrimination based on race will not be tolerated on our campuses or toward our students. Individuals committing such acts will be subject to disciplinary consequences. We recognize that many students were negatively affected by the content of this video and the school is prepared to support their needs.”
He also claimed that the video was filmed over the summer and not on school property.
On Friday, players on Yulee’s football team wanted to sit out during the homecoming game to show support for their teammates who had been suspended. But parents told News4Jax that after being told by the school’s principal that they would not be able to play for the rest of the season, athletes had to find another route. A video obtained by the news channel shows that players opted to wave their teammates’ jerseys instead.
A parent told the local CW affiliate news channel that it was unbelievable that the kids who made the “vile, nasty, distasteful video” are still able to attend school while the students who spoke up about it “to defend themselves are sitting at home.”