Two Hurricane, Utah, students have horrified an entire community after posting a racist image on Instagram on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The image depicted one of the students with a noose around her neck and her eyes covered with two “x” marks. The caption read, “happy national [n-word] day.”
On King Day, these Utah students faked a lynching and posted “Happy Nigger Day” on Snapchat.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) January 18, 2018
I’ve counted dozens of incidents like this on King Day. Young white people clearly feel fully emboldened to be openly violent and racist. https://t.co/bc9pKxldCa
When asked what the Washington County School District was doing to address this horrific incident, the district’s Director of Public Relations, Steven Dunham, assured reporters that steps had been taken. Unfortunately, he was not able to elaborate on what the punishment would be.
“We have a safe schools policy, and if they are not making other students feel safe in our own schools, in our own community, it's significant the punishments that they could face," he said.
According to school district officials, the students in question took the photo at their jobs as the school was closed at the time. The girl in the photo was reportedly fired from her job.
To Arin Hoagland, a Hurricane mother of two, this incident shows that we still have a long way to go until racism is finally gone.
“It's your perspective, your mind-set on other races,” she said. “That starts all completely at home with your parents, with your morals, with your beliefs. All of that starts at home.”
The fact that this image was shared on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, she added, made the students' actions even more disrespectful.
“That makes me really sad as a mother that people are still referring to a race as a slur,” she said.
In a video message, Hurricane High School’s principal, Jody Rich, said that the students’ actions do not represent the institution and its students. She also challenged students to always ask themselves if what they are posting is appropriate by following what she calls a TLC three-point test.
“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,” she said.
While we’re still not sure what kind of punishment the school will implement, the community itself should work together not only to punish the students but to lead by example. Like hate, love is contagious, and we all know that actions speak for themselves. Perhaps now, the community will become even closer as they heal from this horrific incident.