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PRESS RELEASE

Questionnaire (Follow-up)
Friday, September 15, 2017

The investigation into the five Weber High School students shown in a short viral video using a racial slur
has concluded. The video was brought to the attention of school officials on the evening of October
16th after it started circulating on social media.

It was determined that 10-second clip was recorded by one of the students approximately one year ago
while the teenagers were on fall break. The video was not related to any school function, and the
activity occurred outside of school. The recording was later posted to a private social media account by
one of the students where it was viewed by other students and eventually shared on other social media
platforms.

Weber School District respects every individuals constitutional right to free speech protected under the
1st amendment, and the district normally does not get involved in issues of student conduct that occur
outside of school. Exceptions occur when student conduct outside of school 1) create substantial
disruption to school; or, 2) compromises the safe school environment. If there is a substantial
disruption or a compromising of the safe school environment, the school has a responsibility by law to
become involved pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and state laws on bullying and
harassment.

Students involved in extracurricular activities like athletics, cheerleading, and student government are
also held to a higher standard as they represent the school in these capacities. To participate in such
activities, students and their parents are often required to sign a constitution (code of conduct) that
specifies additional eligibility requirements, standards, along with outlining prohibited behaviors.

In this particular case, the video that was made created a substantial disruption at Weber High School
and adversely affected many students, including some of our minority students. Three of the five
students shown in the video were also on the Weber High cheerleading squad and each had signed a
constitution. Provisions of that agreement apply to specific misconduct both on and off campus.

Given the totality of these circumstance, the district conducted a thorough investigation into the matter.
This investigation involved interviewing students with their parents and extensive fact gathering. All
students involved in an investigation by the district are afforded due process rights which must be
respected.

It is believed the students made the video by repeatedly saying the nonsensical phrase, sergin cuff.
When the video was uploaded into an app and played backgrounds, the phrase produced what sounds
like an offensive racial slur (f-word, n-word). Although the students reported they were just playing
around and it wasnt directed at any particular person, it doesnt excuse the fact they knew what the
words sounded like when they recorded it and played it backwards. During the investigation, all of the
students involved expressed sincere regret for their actions and have been very apologetic.

Racism in any form, whether intentional or not, has no place in our schools or society. Weber School
District has taken this matter very seriously. The investigation has now concluded and the school has
taken appropriate action against the students. Since this action is now part of their student record and
protected by federal and state privacy laws, we are prohibited from releasing the specific details. The
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), protects the privacy of student education records,
including any disciplinary records. Release of this protected information would constitute a violation of
the law on behalf of the school district.

We hope this can be a learning experience for the students involved, as well as others. Even though
young people sometimes do things without really thinking it though, its important that we correct
inappropriate behavior and help them understand the potential consequences of their actions. Its also
critical that we try and prevent these types of things from ever happening again.

Our district is looking at several different options as far as sensitivity and anti-discrimination training
that we could provide to students and staff. One program were considering is the SPIRIT program
offered by the U.S. Department of Justice that brings students, schools and communities together. We
are now moving forward with the resolve to try and make the best of a very negative situation.

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