The reaction of some in the community – to a viral video showing a Noblesville High School student using racial slurs, draped in a Nazi flag – has drawn a harsh reaction from Jeff Bryant, principal.
“I am appalled by the reaction from some adults in our community. You can be outraged and, as a community, we should be disturbed and concerned by the comments. But, I do not understand how publicly bashing this 17-year old child, his family, and his friends does anything other than perpetuate the same language, thinking, and views that were in the original posting. Attacking a wrong with more wrongs will never make a right,” Bryan wrote.
In addition, Bryant refuted rumors the student committed suicide
“(Tuesday) morning an awful rumor was spread about the passing of the student who was in the inappropriate social media post from ten days ago. Thankfully, I can say that this was just a rumor and is completely false,” Bryant said.
He said teachers discussed the rumor with students at the beginning of classes.
“At the beginning of this block, all teachers shared with students that this rumor was not true. In addition, teachers spoke about the dangers of spreading rumors and social media,” Bryant said.
Last week the video said to show a Noblesville schools student chanting racial slurs through a bullhorn while draped in a Nazi flag began circulating.
In the video, cars and trucks are shown, some with their headlights on, their occupants listening to the chants. An off-camera voice tells the teen "turn around, let me see your flag." When he complies, you see a Nazi flag draped over his shoulders.
In Bryant’s message Tuesday, he said the student made a terrible decision.
“On the one hand, we have a 17-year old kid who made a terrible decision and is paying the personal consequences for his decision. His comments were completely disgusting and inappropriate. As a school, we in no way support or excuse his actions,” Bryant wrote.
He urges parents to talk with their children about the incident.
“I’m asking for you to have serious conversations with your child, your neighbors, family, and friends about the type of hate shared in the original social media post and others like it that we see or hear far too often. Make it a priority to help your children understand empathy, not as a word, but as a feeling that deeply relates to the person sitting next to them on the bus, in the cafeteria, in a classroom, at a ballgame, or in the community.”
Noblesville schools released a companion statement.
“Noblesville Schools looks forward to ongoing conversations with parents and Noblesville residents as we work together to build a community of kindness and respect for all.”