By Logan Stefanich
SPRINGVILLE, Utah (KSL) — Just a day after a video taken at a Cedar City Walmart depicting teens wearing blackface and dressed as inmates went viral and prompted police and school inquiries, Springville High School suspended a student for wearing racist attire.
On Monday, a student came to Springville High School dressed in a white sheet “like a ghost,” according to a statement from Nebo School District spokesperson Lana Hiskey.
For most of the morning, the student only wore the sheet as a white ghost.
Then, things took an ugly turn, when other students reported seeing the student pull out a white hood, putting it on to take a photo, seemingly to imitate Ku Klux Klan regalia.
“As soon as this incident was reported, our Springville High administration immediately found the student and brought him in,” Hiskey said in the statement. “The student was suspended and disciplinary action (was) taken.”
“We are committed to keeping our schools safe and will continue to educate students on appropriate behavior at school and activities. If students feel concerned or anxious, please advise them to speak with their school counselor,” Hiskey said.
She added that Nebo School District is grateful for the students who reported the incident and for the “immediate action” taken by the Springville High administration.
Jeanetta Williams, president of the NAACP Salt Lake City chapter, said Wednesday that she was “appalled that this student would come to school dressed as a Klansman.”
“I’m sure that he knows part of the history but wanted to make a bold statement with his hate outfit. I am pleased that students reported him and that the school officials handled the situation promptly,” Williams said.
The video of individuals wearing blackface in Cedar City on Halloween was initially uploaded to a private TikTok account before going viral and being widely distributed on various social media platforms, including on Twitter.
It shows three young people with striped inmate costumes wearing blackface, accompanied by at least one white person wearing a police costume who, when approached by a woman filming, laugh off her concerns.
“Do you guys understand the consequences of what you’ve just done?” a woman asks. “You guys are never going to get into a college, you guys are not going to get any scholarships, because this is a hate crime.”
“We all dropped out of high school, it’s OK,” responds one of the teens who was not wearing a costume, to the tune of laughter from the teens wearing blackface.
“I still don’t think it’s appropriate for you guys to be doing this. … It’s really not funny,” the woman responds.
Utah. Gov Spencer Cox on Tuesday issued a statement condemning the actions in the video, saying “We must do better.”
“We strongly condemn racism in all its forms and we call on every Utahn to reject such offensive stereotypes, slurs and attitudes,” Cox said in a statement.
Later on Tuesday, the Twitter account @UtahBlueWave tweeted the video, seemingly calling out Utah Republican Rep. Burgess Owens.
Owens later responded to the tweet.
“The stupid actions of a few kids are not representative of Utah. More representative are 60,000 young men and women who volunteer to spend 24 months (away) from family and friends now serving in every community around the world,” Owens said in a tweet.
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