GAINESVILLE, Fla. (CBS Tampa) — Two South Florida high schools are grappling with the fallout after students uploaded YouTube videos filled with racist rants and angering their local communities to the point where additional security and departure from school were reportedly necessary.
At Gainesville High School in Gainesville and Santaluces High School in Palm Beach, students and parents alike are outraged after the videos of young, white female students making fun of the predominantly black populations of their respective student bodies went viral.
According to the Gainesville Sun, the two students voluntarily withdrew from Gainesville High School last Wednesday. Both were reportedly recipients of multiple death threats.
The Palm Beach Post is reporting similar consequences for two girls who uploaded the video about Santaluces High School, with security ramped up on campus in order to protect the threatened students.
The offending video from Gainesville High School, taken down by YouTube due to its violation of their rules against hate speech, shows the girls sitting in what appears to be a living room.
They both openly mock African-Americans, invoking derogatory accents while mimicking the inner monologue of an imaginary black person.
“Oh I’m gonna have kids,” she states. “I’m gonna get a welfare check.”
“I’mma [sic] get my GED,” her friend interjects.
“I’ll get my GED,” she agrees, laughing. “I’mma [sic] go work at McDonald’s and, oh, if I keep having my babies, Shaniqua-liqua [sic] and Jaque-que [sic], I’ll keep getting my welfare check for having my babies.”
After her rant, she resumes her normal voice to make her main point.
“Maybe up north or wherever the hell you people are from, maybe that isn’t how black people are,” she finishes. “But here, that is how the majority of them are.”
The video continues for another 11 minutes and 30 seconds, every second of it a continued argument about the alleged validity of negative black stereotypes.
As for the video from Santaluces High School in Palm Beach, which went viral on Monday, two girls are seen brushing their hair in a bedroom and talk for just over four minutes about the effects of attending their school in a negative fashion.
“Our school is like no other,” one girl states, wide-eyed and sarcastic.
“When you walk in, you start turning black,” the other finishes. “You turn [black] … you catch the disease.”
Just like the other video, these girls also adopt an accent when imitating their black peers. And for school officials, such behavior is viewed as unacceptable.
“The school will be looking at this situation to take appropriate action,” Palm Beach County School Police Chief Jim Kelly told the Post. “Social media is new, so a lot of these situations are new. The district will have to look at this and determine what the appropriate action is.”
“It’s groundbreaking territory,” Santaluces Principal Kathleen Orloff told the Post. “Kids think they have this anonymity on YouTube or Facebook, because they’re not talking face-to-face with a person.”
The potential to learn may still exist though, as hindsight might be 20-20 for one of the teens from Gainesville.
“Seeing the video later on, I realized how bad it was and how ignorant we looked,” she told the Gainesville Sun. “I couldn’t believe it was myself that I was seeing. It seemed like another person.”
School officials are also trying to make this into a learning experience for students and staff.
“We’ve been having positive, proactive conversations with students … about issues of race, responsibility, accountability, social media, and a variety of different topics,” Gainesville High School Principal David Shelnutt told CBS Tampa. “The reality is that the actions of two students don’t speak for the other 1,832 students on campus.”
The parents of all four students hope that, while the actions of their daughters are inexcusable, that their schools and communities may be able to eventually forgive and forget.
“We could say it a million times: there’s no excuse for what’s she’s done,” the Gainesville mother told the Sun. “We’re sorry for any pain and harm and anger caused. I can understand that, but we’re not racists.”
Calls made by CBS Tampa to Palm Beach County school officials were not immediately returned.