North Texas school grapples with student’s racist online slur
Three students from Midlothian schools — a district southwest of Dallas — were disciplined after posting a video showing a young man uttering a racist slur 25 times in 10 seconds.
The video, which was posted on YouTube on Friday off-campus, shows the young man repeatedly saying, "n-----," after another young man tells him that term can't be used on the Internet. The video went viral after it was shared on a Twitter account for All Resistance News, prompting complaints and an investigation by the school district.
Parents of Midlothian High School were informed about the video in a letter from Superintendent Lane Ledbetter.
"I want to address this issue the only way I know how — straight to the point," Ledbetter said in a May 7 letter. "Any offensive, demeaning and inappropriate words, behaviors, comments or statements made by a student, teacher or staff member is unacceptable, and they will face swift and severe consequences."
The district did not state the name of the students disciplined or what discipline they received, citing federal student privacy laws. It is against the district's Student Code of Conduct to use electronic technology to post obscene messages.
"This is a highly emotional situation," said district spokeswoman Karen Permetti.
The video touched on several issues that students face in the digital age, she said. The first is that it simply isn't kind to use racist language and to offend people. Additionally, students in the district are taught about "digital citizenship," which means: "No matter what you post, you cannot delete it."
Permetti said that even though the video was shot off campus, it created a disruption to learning. If students cause a disruption to learning, they are subject to disciplinary action.