Warning: This story includes language and subject matter that might be offensive to some readers.
Black students at Prior Lake High School say sentiments shared in a recent viral video—widely seen as racist—are nothing new in the district.
In a video shared to social media, a White Prior Lake High School student and another person off-camera, allegedly address a Black classmate that had attempted suicide earlier this year. They repeatedly use the N-word and other racial slurs and encourage the student to take her own life.
“You dark ass n***er,” said the student to the camera, laughing. “Dark a** chocolate bar. Get the f*** out of here. F***ing kill yourself right this time. Do it f***ing right… Cut deep enough this time or f***ing tie the rope higher.”
In a letter to families, Prior Lake school officials said they were launching an investigation into the incident and will take appropriate action.
Principal John Bezek said the school “does not tolerate racism or hate speech. Racist messages like the ones in the video create an environment that is hostile to learning,” he wrote. “I want to assure students and staff that we are committed to their safety and emotional well-being.”
Fourteen-year-old Prior Lake High School freshman Nya Sigin recently spoke to the media to confirm that she was the target of the attack. “It was just the most disgusting thing I’ve ever witnessed in my entire life,” Nya Sigin told KSTP Eyewitness News. “I was confused. I didn’t really know what I had done to even deserve it,” she said.
Calling the video “sick,” Nya’s sister Elizabeth Sigin also spoke out and said such behavior isn’t an isolated occurrence. “I watched the first half and it was nothing new, I see racist things all the time.”
Elizabeth Sigin added, “It’s already hard enough being in such a predominantly White area as a Black family, and as Black women, it makes it so much harder for us. I really just want to see my school do something about this video and give real consequences to the students who are involved.”
According to U.S. News and World Report, only 4.3% of the school’s 2,761 students are Black.
Several Black students at the school told the MSR that this is just the first racist social media post from Prior Lake High School to get everyone’s attention. “I’m not really phased. Things like this happen all the time here,” said one Black Prior Lake student who preferred to be unnamed.
Freshman Shukri Mumin said teachers and White students have been standing up and making statements denouncing hate speech since the video, but Black students have typically faced resistance when speaking up for themselves.
“When you confront [people making racist comments], they say ‘it’s a joke—freedom of speech. Stop being so sensitive,'” Mumin said. Mumin claims that when the incidents are reported to the administration, the students behind racist incidents are not disciplined.
Freshman Rey Romero was disgusted and shocked by the video. “People really still doing that in 2021?!” he said. “The fact that it’s in this high school and we’re actually experiencing it first-hand. It’s crazy. We’re really seeing this … as freshmen,” he said.
School administrators did not immediately respond to the MSR’s interview requests. A GoFundMe page has been created to support Nya Sign’s college fund. At the time of publication, the page has raised $78,260 of the $100,000 goal.
This story will continue to be updated as more information is made available.
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