Two Utah high school students are facing punishment after sharing a picture on Martin Luther King Jr. Day that included a racial slur.
The holiday celebrating the African-American civil rights pioneer is national—students across the country were off school for the day.
The pair of Hurricane High School students took their time off and used it to create and share a racist picture.
Now they’ve been punished by the school but the director of public relations told KUTV that he wouldn’t disclose the terms of the punishment.
The students could face more consequences.
— D.J. Bolerjack (@DJBolerjack) January 17, 2018
“We have a safe school’s policy and if they are not making other students feel safe in our own schools, in our own community, is significant in the punishments that they could face,” Steven Dunham, the director, told the broadcaster.
“Once we identified the students we contacted police so they could begin their own investigation to see if it warranted criminal charges,” Dunham added to Good4Utah.
The Washington County Attorney’s Office will decide on any criminal charges. That process could take weeks.
Jody Rich, the Hurricane High School principal, released a video statement in which he addressed and condemned the incident.
“Recently, some thoughtless actions by a few on social media have reached out to affect us all, which saddens me because they don’t represent what HHS is all about. I want to give you all a challenge to adopt my TLC three-point test for everything we say and do…,” Rich said.
“Be it face to face, in the crowd at a ball game, or on social media. Before you post or say something, ask yourself…is it true, will it lift rather than tear down, and is it caring! Please never say or post anything if it doesn’t pass this simple test!”
I’ve prepared a written statement that I need to share. Recently, some thoughtless actions by a few on social media have reached out to affect us all, which saddens me because they don’t represent what HHS is all about. I want to give you all a challenge to adopt my TLC three point test for everything we say and do… be it face to face, in the crowd at a ball game, or on social media. Before you post or say something, ask yourself… is it TRUE, will it LIFT rather than tear down, and is it CARING! Please never say or post anything if it doesn’t pass this simple test! Please also take a moment to reflect on what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is all about. It’s not about getting another day off from school, rather it is about remembering how far our nation has come, and how far we still have to go. Dr. King said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” If our school is known for anything it is known for being a place where everyone feels loved and accepted. I am grateful to be a part of this Tiger family…so please join with me as we work hard to ensure that love abounds to drive out any hate. Thank you so much! I love you all! Jody #hhsfamily
Peers and parents have expressed disbelief that the picture was shared in 2018, including Arin Hoagland, a mother of two.
“That makes me really sad as a mother that people are still referring to a race as a slur,” she told KUTV.
“It’s your perspective, your mind set on other races, that all starts completely at home with your parents, with your morals, with your believes. All of that starts at home.” Hoagland said.