(tncms-asset)099c67cd-b2a8-561a-b4c8-79d147b848200 —(/tncms-asset)A Snapchat video circulating on social media shows a group of young white men, at least one shouting the N-word multiple times. The young men attend Reagan High School, administrators confirmed Thursday.
The mother of one of the students, who asked the Journal not to identify her, says the students have been suspended and kicked off a school team. She also said they have faced death threats in the wake of the video.
It was filmed inside a truck on school grounds Wednesday before the school day began, according to the mom.
Her son told the Journal he is sorry for his actions.
Superintendent Beverly Emory said in a statement that the video is unacceptable.
“The language and behavior in this video is alarming. It is offensive and simply not acceptable in our district. We work daily to create an atmosphere that respects and honors all students. Regardless of the motivation or intent, such behavior affects us all.”
Brent Campbell, a spokesman for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, said the administrators at Reagan began an investigation immediately after the video was brought to the school system’s attention Wednesday and were able to identify the students.
“We will follow all disciplinary guidelines to the extent our policy allows,” Campbell said in regard to the students. “This video certainly demonstrates language and behavior that is completely unacceptable. It is not in keeping with the WS/FCS core values and has been treated accordingly.”
‘Learned a life lesson’
A 16-year-old who said he was one of the students in the video told the Journal on Thursday night he is sorry and that he knows his actions were “completely wrong.”
“I have learned a life lesson from this,” said the teenager.
He also said he is not a racist and that, while online backlash has sometimes centered on his mother and father, they are not to blame.
“I am truly sorry for anyone that I have hurt or offended,” he said.
His mother said she was called Wednesday night and told she or her son’s father would have to walk the teen into school and escort him out afterward. The students were allowed to take exams before their suspensions went into effect, she said.
She also said that another student posted a Snapchat message that appeared to threaten violence toward the students in the video.
The mom said her son is being severely punished at home as well as at school but worries that what she calls a 10-second mistake has put her son’s safety at risk and could possibly follow him for the rest of his life.
‘Continue important conversations’
Emory went on to say in her statement that school officials are coming up with ways to make this a teachable moment.
Those include having students at Reagan discuss different ways the high school can focus on equity, which is listed as a core value in the school system.
“We will focus on the importance of honoring the diversity of all students,” Emory said.
“We will continue the important conversations about the inappropriate use of social media.”
Emory said she never wants students to feel offended or disrespected.
“I regularly see our students demonstrating incredible acts of kindness and support,” she said. “I am so disheartened one video is being seen as a representation of our students when that is just not who we are.”