Thirty one students may miss prom and six who are seniors may even miss their graduation ceremonies after the Scripps Ranch High School administrators suspended the 28 girls and 3 boys. The San Diego Unified School District Board is reviewing the punishment. From the San Diego Union Tribune:
The video apparently violates the school’s sexual harassment policy that prohibits verbal, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Twerking involves the shaking and twisting of hips in a suggestive dance move.
The U-T confirmed that students in a broadcast journalism class used school equipment to record and add music to a video of the group of girls twerking while doing handstands.
The district official said it would have been acceptable if the students had been twerking upright but said doing it while doing a handstand was considered inappropriate in an educational setting.
The American Civil Liberties Union criticized the punishment.
“Unfortunately, the administration at Scripps Ranch High School’s hasty response to its students’ dance video is reflective of a national trend towards unreasonable, overly harsh, and counterproductive disciplinary measures,” said Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, senior policy advocate for the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties.
“We want young people in school so they can learn and become successful and productive members of the community. What is gained by removing 31 students from the classroom, their prom, and even, possibly, their own graduation? It serves no purpose for the student, the teacher, or the community to keep children from learning.”
A memo sent out by Bill Kowba San Diego Unified School District Superintendent which has also sparked controversy is said to have read “28 were white girls and three were boys of color.” This prompted the leadership of the San Diego Unified School District to demand no further comment be made to the press. The full text of that memo follows:
Please do not disseminate. This is student sensitive information.
Earlier this week, the SRHS principal suspended 28 white females and 3 male students of color for their role in a video made on the campus. The video consists of a twerking display, young women gyrating against a wall while standing on their hands. A young male is in the video in a sexually suggestive role. There is a salacious background music that accompanies the video. There are clearly articulated obscenities in the background music. The credits at the end include offensive, demeaning language. The video made it to UTube for wider dissemination.
I have seen one of the versions of the video that contains everything I described above except the credits clip. It is my personal opinion that the video is a deeply offensive production with implications for lewd conduct, sexual harassment, and gender victimization. It is especially insulting to SRHS, having been filmed on district property without district/school authorization and involves the naming of the school and young women wearing SRHS apparel.
Principal Anne Menna responded with an investigation as soon as it was reported to her. All but a few are 11th graders. Every student was properly interviewed by either the principal or one of the two vice-principals in accordance with a template script. All of the parents were contacted. The school leadership team consulted with the Placement and Appeals Office for proper handling of the matter. Based on information collected, all of the students were issued a two-day suspension that will be completed today. I asked Anne about the parental reaction. In all but a couple of instances, the parents were disappointed and embarrassed.
I have asked both the Placement and Appeals and General Counsel staffs to review the SRHS leadership actions and due process to ensure that every consideration was rendered to all parties. This is a matter of school discipline, a confidential student matter protected by the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. It is both sensational and scandalous, an attractive media item. I ask that you please refrain for public comments, but rather direct any media inquiries to Chief of Staff Bernie Rhinerson and his communications team.
All 31 students are appealing the suspension.
The full video is below so the reader can decide.
The Dis Brimstone-Daily Pitchfork editorial board supports the rights of the young adult that made this video in the 1st amendment right of free sppech and self expression. –Cavalor Epþiþ, Esquire, O.B.R.E., CS, O.D.A.J.[1er], O.Q.H.[Journ.], D.S.V.J., J.F.
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