A high school in North Carolina is in hot water after two of its students were featured in a viral video on social media using a host of profanities and racial slurs and even referencing the lynching of black people. Now, administrators from Guilford County Schools are reassuring parents of their commitment to diversity and inclusion, although the man who initially shared the video says that the school isn’t doing enough.
Chris Bray is a Las Vegas-based filmmaker who spent nearly 14 years of his life in Greensboro, N.C., and also attended school there. After moving around the country with his military father, he remembers touring Northwest Guilford High School and telling his mom that he couldn’t go there because of what he saw, heard and observed of the culture. Bray tells Yahoo Lifestyle that he “was not surprised” when his sister, who is currently a student at Northwest, first sent him the video on Nov. 21, but he decided to share it because he has grown tired of how racially insensitive situations have been “swept under the rug.”
The video in question features two white male minors saying things like “lynch them all” and “put them b****es back in the field” while also using the n-word repeatedly. When Bray posted it to his Facebook page to spread awareness, it was removed by Facebook three times. Still, it was viewed more than 44,000 times and shared by 1,000 people before some started to capture screen recordings of the video to post on their own platforms. That included a Twitter user named Adriahna, who called on Northwest Guilford High School and the school district to do something about it.
The chief of staff at Guilford County Schools, Nora Carr, sent the following statement to Yahoo Lifestyle:
“Our students have a right to learn in a safe and caring environment that is free of discrimination, harassment and bullying. When student behavior outside of school makes other students feel unsafe at school and disrupts learning, we address it. While we’re deeply disappointed that this occurred, it’s our job as educators to teach children and young people how to engage with one another appropriately as future citizens and leaders. That’s what public schools are all about.”
The administrator also assures that “the students involved were disciplined in accordance with our student code of conduct,” although further details could not be disclosed by law. Still, Bray says that students who have been in contact with him are telling him otherwise.
“Those two boys, I was told, were to receive a 10-day suspension. But students later on, a couple hours later, sent me messages saying they only received 3 days in-school suspension, and they have police officer escorts as they maneuver around campus,” Bray tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “The police presence on campus is actually pretty high due to the nature of the situation.”
The Guilford chief of staff also shares the plans being put in place to address the school’s current concerns, “including partnering with NCCJ [National Conference for Community and Justice] of the Piedmont Triad to work with students and faculty on Monday to give students and staff the opportunity to talk about the situation in a productive manner, and begin the healing process.”
While the NCCJ has not yet responded to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment, Bray again says that students have not yet been exposed to any of the training they were allegedly supposed to be getting. Instead, students have expressed that it’s being brushed off yet again.
“They said, ‘No, we haven’t received any training. They told us to talk to our teachers if we had a problem. Most of the teachers don’t even want to talk about the situation,’” Bray shares. “They’re actually fearful right now.”
As of Tuesday night, the situation only seemed to be getting worse; Bray’s sister received a Snapchat message regarding the threat of a school shooting.
The Guilford County Sheriff’s Office told WFMY2 News that there would be increased security on campus Wednesday morning because of the threat.
Among all of the destructive behavior to come from the viral video, the local news station also shed light on one student who is actively trying to bring students together with sticky notes throughout the hallways that share positive affirmations and messages. Although it’s a step in the right direction, Bray thinks that Guilford County Schools has a lot of work to do in order to alleviate racial tensions — starting with labeling the recent incident a hate crime.
“This is more when you watch a fire burn and you just forget about it, and then somebody comes by and pours gas on it, and then it gets even bigger and more hot,” Bray says. “That’s the type of metaphor I would use for it.”