Utah high school suspends student for wearing Ku Klux Klan costume on Halloween

SPRINGVILLE, Utah (KSL.com) — A day after a video taken at a Cedar City Walmart showing teenagers in blackface and dressed as inmates went viral and sparked a police and school investigation, Springville High School has suspended student for wearing racist clothing.

On Monday, the student arrived at Springville High School wearing a white sheet “like a ghost,” Nebo School District spokeswoman Lana Hiskey said in a statement.

For most of the morning, the student wore the sheet only as a white ghost.

Then things took a turn for the worse when other students reported seeing a student pull off a white hood and put it on for a photo, as if imitating Ku Klux Klan regalia.

“Once this incident became known, our administration at Springville High School immediately located the student and brought him in,” Hiskey said in a statement. “The student was suspended and disciplined.”

“We are committed to maintaining the safety of our schools and will continue to educate students about appropriate behavior at school and at events. If students feel concerned or anxious, encourage them to speak with a school counselor,” Hiskey said.

She added that Nebo School District is grateful to the students who reported the incident and the “immediate action” taken by Springville High administration.

Janet Williams, president of the Salt Lake City chapter of the NAACP, said Wednesday that she was “shocked that this student would come to school dressed as a Klan member.”

“I’m sure he knows some of the story, but he wanted to make a bold statement with his hateful clothing. I’m glad the students reported him and that school officials dealt with the situation quickly,” Williams said.

A video of people wearing blackface in Cedar City on Halloween was originally uploaded to a private TikTok account and later went viral and was widely shared on various social media platforms, including Twitter.

It shows three young men in striped blackface inmate suits, accompanied by at least one white man in a policeman’s suit, who, when approached by a female cameraman, laughs at his troubles.

“Do you guys realize the consequences of what you just did?” the woman asks. “You guys will never go to college, you won’t get any scholarships because this is a hate crime.”

“We all dropped out of high school, we’re all right,” replies one of the teenagers, who wasn’t wearing a costume, to the tune of laughter from the teenagers in blackface.

“I still don’t think you guys should be doing this. … It’s really not funny,” the woman replies.

Utah. Gov. Spencer Cox issued a statement Tuesday condemning the actions in the video, saying, “We have to do better.”

“We strongly condemn racism in all its forms and call on every Utahn to reject such offensive stereotypes, insults and attitudes,” Cox said in a statement.

Later Tuesday, the @UtahBlueWave Twitter account tweeted a video that appeared to call out Utah Republican Burgess Owens.

Owens later responded to the tweet.

“The stupid actions of a few kids don’t belong in Utah. More representative are the 60,000 young men and women who volunteered to spend 24 months (away) from family and friends, serving now in every community around the world,” Owens tweeted.

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