Video of Oregon City High School students hurling racial epithets surfaces on social media
The Oregon City School District is dealing with yet another racially-charged controversy that has gained traction on social media.
A Snapchat video of two students hurling racial epithets directed toward their principal at Oregon City High School emerged on Twitter this weekend.
The pair yell, "What do you think about [N-word]? [Principal of OCHS] Tom Lovell is a [expletive] [N-word] who arranges five [N-words] a day coming into the school at OCHS. [Expletive] him. [Expletive]."
Principal Lovell responded to the video on Twitter.
"Exactly the type of negative behavior we are trying to stop. It won't be tolerated. There will be severe consequences for this," Lovell wrote.
One of the teens' parents sent KATU News a statement; read it in full below.
The school district released the following statement Monday:
"An investigation is underway and individual students will face disciplinary action up to and possibly including expulsion. School administrators will also work with the students involved to make this situation a teachable moment and assist them in efforts to repair the pain caused by their actions and words."
The video was shared on Twitter from Snapchat by Marcus Hasan, a former OCHS student.
"It made me feel kind of sick because no one should be using [the N-word]," Hasan said. "When I saw the video I just felt like i needed to post it because all the racist stuff that's been going around in Oregon City, and I don't think like everybody really knows what that word means and why they shouldn't be saying that."
The issue hits close to home for Hasan. His girlfriend talked to us earlier this year when she found a racist note at her house after wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt to school. The note read, "go back to picking cotton, [N-word]" and "black lives doesn't matter[sic]." She posted a picture of the note on Twitter, which went viral.
Also in October, OCHS students planned another walkout after a photo including a racial slur also went viral on Twitter. The photo shows a group of white OCHS students holding a sign that reads, "Welcome back to the farm, [N-word]."
In November, 15-year-old Joy Simmons, a freshman at the Clackamas Academy of Industrial Sciences in Oregon City, told KATU News she found two racist notes stuffed into her binder.
"I feel like these kids don't really feel like they know what they are doing and they think it's okay," Hasan said, adding he hopes the students learn from their mistakes.
Statement from one of the boys involved in the latest video:
"The incredible lack of respect displayed for Principal Lovell and others in that video is deplorable. We do not condone that kind of speech or hateful message about any race, religion, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. We are a multi-racial family of faith and the content of that video was deeply hurtful to us on a spiritual and personal level. The abhorrent views expressed in that video are not consistent with the values we live by or teach our children.
Our son apologizes for his role in this event and deeply regrets the part he played in disseminating that hateful message. He has never used that kind of language or expressed views similar to those in our presence. He knows that the language used and the opinions expressed in that video contradict everything we believe in and have taught him. He also knows he never should have been a part of that incident. A review of his limited social media forums show that he had not engaged in hateful rhetoric prior to this event. This in no way eliminates accountability for out son for this particular incident. By not exercising good judgment, this mistake has taught him an invaluable life lesson about the power of words and the responsibility to use your words to build a better society for all to coexist.
As his family, we are supporting our son in his efforts to show his community how remorseful he is over this situation and to help repair any damage his actions have caused. His social circle includes people of all races. He recognizes that those relationships may have been irreparably damaged by his participation in the video. He never meant to hurt anyone. He understands that his actions may make it difficult for people to accept him or believe that he is sincerely sorry for his actions, but he is taking responsibility for this lapse in judgment while enduring the consequences of his wrongdoing.
This incident came as a complete shock to us. We are actively involved in the lives of our children and maintain an open communication policy with both of them. There is no topic that is off limits. Rather, we encourage our children to discuss anything that comes to mind and to examine all points of view before forming an opinion while being accepting of opposing views. We apologize for our son’s actions and want you to know that we take this incident seriously. As a result, we have made some decisions for our son that will drastically change his current social circle. He will be engaged in organizations and/or programs that promote equality and tolerance."