Pleasant Grove High School Student Posts Racist Snapchat Rant
An Elk Grove Pleasant Grove High School student has found herself in hot water after posting a racist video on Snapchat disparaging African Americans. The Elk Grove Unified School district is current investigating. EGUSD has acknowledged that both girls in the video attend high schools in the district.
According to local sources, Desirae Fernandez, a Pleasant Grove High School student, makes the statements “Black people are trash, they need to die” and “when police were killing all those Black people, I was so happy.” The other girl in the video looks shocked at the statements. The profane video, is posted HERE. *WARNING: Content contains language which some may find offensive. These do NOT reflect any views of the Elk Grove Tribune.*
The student’s Snapchat and other social media has been disabled. However, it seems like the student is still seeking attention on social media. She appears to have created a new Snapchat under the name “omgdesirae.”
A Statement from Sharie Wilson of DreamGirls Fine Hair Imports & Salon
“This is more of a reason why we need to have a conversation about race relations in the City of Elk Grove as well as in the schools within the Elk Grove Unified School District. This is likely not the first time that this girl said something like that. The question is, what are we going to do about it?
We need to start the education early on and at home so that we can lay the foundation on parenting and respect early. If that girl had got the education early then she wouldn’t have said what she did. We don’t see the majority of teenagers enacting or saying things like this young girl did because the majority will understand how this is not okay. If her parents or educators had talked to her early maybe in elementary school that it wasn’t okay to do A, B, C, regarding racism, then the girl would have been able to stand up and say, “This isn’t right.”
Every parent is different, so both the parents and the educators need to work together so to teach kids right from wrong. What the parents don’t teach, maybe they could pick up in school, regarding right from wrong, racism, and respect for your fellow human being. It’s up to school administrators and lawmakers to set the tone for policies, rules, and laws which discourage racism and encourage mutual respect.”
A Statement from Elk Grove Mayoral Candidate Tracie Stafford
“The focus should not be on the child but on the culture that accepts, ignores or participates in such behaviors. 2 of my children graduated from PGHS and 1 still attends.
Therefore we are aware that this type of ‘joking’ is commonplace among the students. Before we can change the culture, we must be brave enough to admit that there is a systemic problem that negatively impacts many Elk Grove residents.
The issue is not the child, social media or what is happening across the nation. The issue is the resistance to address race relations in our city. Following the town hall sessions on this very topic, where 50+ residents shared countless stories of harrassment, some still turn a blind eye or dismiss the experiences as isolated incidents. Although We will never completely erase racial bias, we can educate our children so that they make conscious decisions rather than falling into such hateful belief systems because its considered funny, popular or the norm. When we know better, ‘most’ of us will do better.”
While the student’s words are abhorrent, they are likely protected by free speech. It is unlikely that she broke any laws by using racist language. However, a letter from the Superintendent confirms that the 2 girls in the Snapchat video will not be returning to schools in the Elk Grove Unified School District.
In conclusion, the lesson here is quite clear. Even if this was meant to be a joke, as some people are saying, it’s never okay to use racist language that disparages individuals of a certain racial or ethnic origin (or any sort of discriminatory words). While racist words may be legal, they come with human consequences. As the young girls in this Snapchat video discovered, you can’t take back what you put out in social media. You reap what you sow and it’s not a good thing to try to get ahead by pushing others down. You set yourself free in this life by learning to lift up others around you and devoting your life to something with purpose and meaning, whether that is your family, your faith, or something else.
1st Message from the Superintendent
Dear Elk Grove Unified Parents,
The purpose of this letter is to inform you about a recent situation that has surfaced on social media. Yesterday, school officials were made aware of a very disturbing and hateful video that has since gone viral on social media. The content of the video was reported by a concerned community member who alleged that it was recorded and distributed on social media by an EGUSD student. EGUSD officials immediately investigated the report, and we located and contacted the families of both students who were featured in the video. EGUSD has since received multiple emails and notifications expressing concern about the content of the video and public comments have been made identifying the individuals in the video as Pleasant Grove High School students.
First and foremost, the discriminatory, intolerant, and hurtful comments made in the video are not supported by the District in any fashion. School and district officials take all discriminatory or intolerant expression very seriously, and especially when potentially constituting hate speech, and we are working to help the students who posted the video and their parents understand the gravity of the situation. All EGUSD schools will be notified about this situation and should social and emotional supports be needed for any student, those supports will be provided. School officials will also work to mitigate any negative fallout or disruption to our educational community once students return to school following winter break.
Please know that discriminatory, intolerant and/or hate speech is not condoned or tolerated on EGUSD campuses and most assuredly does not represent the behaviors and values we expect of our students.
Christopher R. Hoffman
2nd Message from the Superintendent
Dear Parents and Guardians,
During winter break, school and district officials investigated and met with the parents of the students who created the widely publicized, disturbing and racially intolerant video ultimately posted on social media.
As always, please know that state and federal law require the District to keep confidential private student record information.
The District’s thorough investigation and review of the situation fully accounted for the specific facts of this incident, and the overarching safety and best interest of all students and staff within the District. In light of the District’s review, and in coordination with their families, the students involved in creating the video will not be attending classes in EGUSD schools when school resumes on January 3, 2018.
EGUSD staff members are prepared to uphold Elk Grove Unified School District’s values of a non-disruptive learning environment that is safe and inclusive. Racially discriminatory or intolerant behavior and expression by EGUSD students has no place in our community, and when such expression occurs on our campuses, or at EGUSD school-related activities or events, students may be subject to discipline and other appropriate corrective actions, interventions or restorative measures.
Christopher R. Hoffman
Elk Grove Unified School District