Video with Southlake Carroll student in it includes repeated use of the n-word

Note: This story has been updated to reflect information from the Southlake Carroll school district that only one of its students was in the video. A second Carroll student is off camera while driving the car.

A video circulating Wednesday depicting students in a car while they repeatedly utter the n-word appears to show at least one Southlake Carroll student, according to a district official.

This is the second time this school year that a video has surfaced showing Southlake students using racial epithets.

“We are sad, we are angry this has happened again,” said Julie Thannum, a spokeswoman for the Southlake Carroll school district. She said officials learned of the video late Tuesday night.

Thannum said the video was taken from inside a vehicle and appears to show three young people. At least one has been identified as a Southlake student. The off-camera driver, who is not seen in the video, is also a Carroll student.

The young people in the video use a racial slur repeatedly.

The video, which was being circulated by people on social media before dawn Wednesday, created a backlash among current and former students from Carroll schools. It appears that students alerted district officials about the video.

One 20-year-old alum of Southlake Carroll High School, who requested anonymity because he has a relative who works in the district, said he wasn’t surprised to see the video on Twitter because there had already been one video controversy in Southlake. He said racial divisions have long been bubbling under the surface of the community.

He said students grow up in a community where there are few people of color.

“There are social consequences growing up in a social space of people who look just like you,” said the former Carroll student.

He said during his time attending Southlake Carroll schools, he had only one African-American teacher in 13 years from kindergarten through grade 12.

The district announced the incident in a Facebook post.

“We don’t tolerate this behavior,” Thannum said. “We may not be able to make it go away completely, but we are taking a strong stance.”

Thannum said the students will be punished but declined to be specific.

The district said that not all of the students in the video are Carroll/Southlake teens.

“Although an apology was posted by the student seen most prominently in the video, it does not undo the harm and hurt felt when racial slurs are used,” the district stated in the Facebook post. “This type of speech will always be unacceptable and quite frankly, makes us angry and sad.”

District administrators began working with police, school resource officers and parents after the first video in October.

Southlake Mayor Laura Hill posted a message on Facebook that urged parents to wake up.

“Every time a child does something ignorant or just plain bad we demand to know what the district is going to do and what will the punishment be. As a parent, we constantly demand the district fix problems when we obviously haven’t been able to fix them ourselves. This ugly thinking can’t be ‘fixed’ by some magical punishment from Carroll ISD.”

Longtime Southlake resident Robin Cornish, who is African-American, said she heard about the video from a Facebook group. Cornish criticized the school district and the city for brushing the racial incidents under the rug and of putting “BandAids” on the problem rather than addressing the issue head-on.

“I don’t know what to do to get Southlake’s and the school district’s attention,” Cornish said. “They are sweeping this under the carpet, and they are complicit.”

Cornish added: “Unfortunately, this is the way our country is right now. Southlake is a microcosm of that. We have someone running the country right now who says it’s OK to be racist. You can’t just have coffee and cookies. There is plenty of funding to hire professionals to deal with this.”

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

Diane Smith, a graduate from the University of Texas at Austin, has been a reporter for the Star-Telegram since 1997. Smith, who has covered municipal government, immigration and education, has won multiple awards for reporting, most recently as part of a Star-Telegram team recognized by the Headliners Foundation of Texas for coverage of child abuse and Fort Worth’s Las Vegas Trail area.
With my guide dog Barbara, I keep tabs on growth, economic development and other issues in Northeast Tarrant cities and other communities near Fort Worth. I’ve been a reporter at the Star-Telegram for 34 years.