Students seen poking, bullying Black mate for his race on Utah school bus in viral video
A Snapchat video shows a group of middle school students on a Utah school bus forming a circle around a Black student in what appears to be an incident of racial bullying. As other students encircle the student, some poking him, one student remarks, “Black guy! Black guy, look at this.” The student then responds, “stop touching me.”
The incident sparked outrage and dismay on social media, with many people expressing their displeasure and disgust. Activist and author Darlene McDonald on Twitter wrote, “has no one spoke to these kids about racism? As school districts push to ban books by Black writers, ethnic studies & SEL (social-emotional learning), our Black kids suffer #utpol #utleg”. CAIR National, a Muslim civil rights organization, also condemned the students' conduct. They stated, “we urge #Utah County’s Alpine School District to offer students anti-racist materials and resources to students and make it clear that incidents of #racist harassment and bullying targeting students of color won’t be tolerated.”
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Utah County Sheriff's Office said that they will not file charges for this incident. Spencer Cannon, public information officer for Utah County Sheriff, said, "It’s disappointing that kids will use that kind of language and feel like it’s okay based on one person’s ethnicity and that’s not okay. But we didn’t find anything, there was not an assault, there was nothing that rose to the level of criminal charges." Deputies began investigating upon discovering the brief video clip circulating on social media, according to Cannon.
Investigators examined the social media footage, surveillance video, and interviewed students on the bus, according to Cannon. Investigators discovered that everyone involved, including the alleged victim, was a part of the same buddy group and that similar language had been used previously, he said. Cannon also stated that based on the conduct of the Black student involved, he would not necessarily describe the situation as bullying.
“Black guy! Black guy, look at this,” he's taunted so much his mother now drives him to school. Has no one spoke to these kids about racism? As school districts push to ban books by Black writers, ethnic studies & SEL, our Black kids suffer. #utpol #utleghttps://t.co/DKJeBULRWU— Darlene McDonald (@VoteDarlene) January 25, 2022
Before the Utah County Sheriff's Office stated that no criminal charges will be made, the Alpine School District issued a statement concerning the incident. According to the statement released by the ASD spokesperson David Stephenson, "Alpine School District quickly began an investigation upon being made aware of an incident on a school bus. The District’s bullying policy and non-discrimination procedures are being followed to ensure the situation is investigated and addressed immediately. Law enforcement was contacted and has been involved in the investigation. Alpine is committed to providing a safe and secure learning environment," Fox News Utah reported.