Catawba County Schools Superintendent Matt Stover issued a statement condemning racist social media posts by students late Monday.
In the statement, Stover said he heard from parents about “disturbing, inappropriate, insensitive, and racist videos” from students in the school system.
“I am both saddened and disappointed by this type of behavior,” Stover said via the statement. “I want to make it absolutely clear that Catawba County Schools does not, and will not, tolerate our students engaging in hateful speech and racist behavior on our school campuses and at school events.”
He encouraged parents to teach their children about appropriate conduct on social media and said the school system “is committed to implementing additional education programs regarding cultural and racial sensitivity when our students return.”
A student at St. Stephens High School shared with the Record a copy of a video which the student said showed two students at the school.
The video shows one boy with his knee on the neck of another boy in a grassy area. The boys mocked the phrase “I can’t breathe,” words which were spoken by George Floyd shortly before he was killed by Minneapolis officers in May.
It was unclear Tuesday if this video was the only instance of racist social media posting from students.
St. Stephens High School teacher Molly Rice said social media platforms should remove videos depicting behaviors like that seen in the video of the students and hold consumers responsible.
She said she regularly speaks with students about the issues of racism and bullying, adding she wants students to feel they can trust her and report when they see or experience racism.
“I tell them (students) my promise continues to celebrate and value diversity in my classroom and stand strong when I advocate for them,” Rice said.
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