A video showing white high school students in Alabama insulting black and Jewish people has gone viral, sparking public backlash and an investigation from school officials.
“Without the Holocaust, what would the world be like?” asks one teenager heard in the video, which was posted to Facebook over the weekend and appears to have been taken at a private party. He was holding a red plastic cup and at one point swaying.
“If the Holocaust never happened, Jews would be running the world right now,” the teenager who originally posed the question said.
The group also discussed imprisoning minorities — “you stick ’em in concentration camps and you (***) guard them” — or waiting “until they die off.”
According to AL.com, the teenagers attend schools in Hoover, a large suburb near Birmingham.
A statement shared online by one of the students — posted via her father’s professional Twitter account — included an apology for the “horrible, horrible things that I said,” describing them as “a terrible attempt to be funny” and “fit into a group.”
“There is nothing that I can say to make what I did better, and there is no apology that I could possibly construct that would deserve forgiveness,” she said. “The things that I said do not reflect the values and morals that my family has instilled in me, nor do they even reflect my own. … I will do everything in my power to be better each and every day.”
In a statement published Monday morning, the Hoover City Schools System affirmed that the conduct seen in the video was “in direct conflict with our school system’s values and its mission.”
“Our school administrators are carefully investigating the situation in order to assess our options under the Code of Student Conduct,” the statement said. “In the meantime, the Hoover school community may be assured that the Board, together with its administrative and instructional staff, remains steadfastly committed to maintaining and strengthening a school culture that encourages and embraces diversity, inclusiveness, and tolerance.”
Derrick Murphy — the first black person elected to the Hoover City Council — said the incident did not represent his city, and disavowed the “hate speech” expressed by the teenagers. “As a parent, I sincerely pray for all of the parents represented in the video — whether they are also struggling with the same hate or are simply blindsided by their children’s thoughts.”
“There is precedent for the school district to take action even though the conversation did not happen on school grounds,” he continued. “I have full confidence in school leadership on handling this situation.”
Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato issued his own statement on the incident, saying his city “condemns racism and hatred in every form and at any place or time,” and that officials were “deeply disturbed” by the video.
“Our city is a place for all people to live, work and play in a safe environment,” Brocato added.
Also this weekend, a series of images surfaced showing high schoolers in Orange County, California making a Nazi salute while standing next to a swastika symbol made out of beer cups.
In January, several middle school students were photographed while forming a human swastika in Ventura County, California.
A report published by the Anti-Defamation League civil rights group in February documented 457 antisemitic incidents in non-Jewish K-12 schools in 2017 — a 94 percent increase from 2016, and 301 percent increase from 2015.
The Algemeiner (c) 2018 . Benjamin Kerstein