Racist and homophobic Snapchat videos causes mass outrage at South Hadley High School

Racist and homophobic Snapchat videos causes mass outrage at South Hadley High School

By Alvin Buyinza

A series of Snapchat videos featuring a female South Hadley High School student making multiple racist and homophobic statements caused mass outrage among fellow students on Tuesday.

In one video, the student briefly describes her smoking and drinking habits with her friends, emphasizing that they are all-white, and she states “none of them are gay.”

She then goes on to say in the video, “I’m not a piece of shit and any queer and black person—yeah that’s a piece of shit, because black people literally look like shit.”

“Black lives don’t matter, they should be out there picking my cotton,” she says in another Snapchat video.

According to MassLive, in response to the video, school administrators held the student in an office for several hours, with classmates demanding disciplinary action.

The Snapchat videos first began circulating across social media and phone screens on Monday. It wasn’t until the next day that word of the video began spreading across the school, according to South Hadley High School senior Amirah Sheehan-Miles in an interview with MassLive.

“It was an incident that happened and did not happen on South Hadley High School grounds and was not directed at a South Hadley High School student,” Vice Principal Patrick Lemiuex said according to MassLive. “That behavior is not tolerated at South Hadley High School and is being dealt with appropriately.”

In a statement released on Wednesday by Superintendent Nicholas D. Young, the school has assured concerned students and neighboring school communities that proper disciplinary action had taken place.

“South Hadley Public Schools is aware of the inappropriate and discriminatory Snapchat videos that were posted by a student,” as stated in the school disctrict’s notification “While these occurred off school grounds, this school system does not tolerate behavior of this type and plans to take all actions within its authority to address this matter to include working collaboratively with the South Hadley Police Department. Rest assured we are taking this incident very seriously and will use this as an educational opportunity to initiate conversations about respecting individual differences and promoting equality and respectful treatment for all.”

Young also stated that disciplinary actions from the school can be limited by the First Amendment rights especially if it’s outside school grounds.

“We won’t tolerate any inappropriate comments of a racial nature and we will address it fully within the scope of our authority. At the same time, we can’t police everything that occurs outside of school,” Young said in an interview with MassLive.

Toward the end of the day the student was eventually released from the office and gave a public apology to her class. According to Sheehan-Miles, whenever Lemiuex had left the student, he made sure to leave her with and teacher to ensure her safety from other students who may have wanted to verbally or physically confront her.

Lemiuex spoke one-on-one with two concerned students, addressing their concerns about the Snapchat videos.

South Hadley High School has an 84 percent white student body, meanwhile with only a 16 percent minority enrollment, according to US News and World Report.

Alvin Buyinza can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @abuyinza_news.