Decatur schools’ superintendent responds to latest video display of student racism

City Schools of Decatur Superintendent David Dude said he will do everything in his power to address racism following the most recent circulation of an apparently racist video involving a Decatur High student.

On May 27 a video began circulating of what appears to include a White teen, a presumed Decatur High School student, with a gun. The teen in the video says he used the weapon to “kill [n-word].”

“Again tonight many of us have now seen yet another racist display by a Decatur High School student,” posted Dude in the early morning hours of May 28. “As if the racist language is not enough, this time it’s accompanied by a display of a weapon and a statement about killing people of color…For a Decatur High student to think it’s okay to make a statement like that, regardless of context, is completely unacceptable.”

In late April, videos circulated of what appeared to be White Decatur students saying the n-word, one student lip synching the word from a song. 

“Our students need to know the history of this vile, hateful language,” said Dude. “They need to recognize the biases they have been exposed to throughout their lives. They need to know why so many of us become upset when we remember people like Rodney King, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and so many others. This pandemic may have caused a delay in some of our equity work but I look forward to getting right back on track come fall so we can accelerate this critical work.”

He continued: “To all of our students and their families, if you are not talking about these things, you need to be. Parents, please let your children know that racism will not be tolerated in your home, just like it won’t be tolerated in our schools. It will take our entire community, inside and outside the schools, to address the racism throughout our community. These racist beliefs and language may not have started in our schools, but they can certainly stop there.”

According to the CSD Code of Conduct and Restorative Practices Handbook, material posted in electronic formats and shared on social media is subject to school discipline if materials were created and/or shared on campus and/or constitute cyberbullying.

It is unclear if, or how, the students involved in the April incidents were disciplined as student disciplinary investigations are bound by student privacy policies.

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