School district spokesman calls Utah teens' profane video 'unacceptable'

School evaluating consequences for 5 students, including 3 cheerleaders

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  • One opinion west jordan, UT
    Oct. 19, 2017 4:19 p.m.

    Completely correct decision. Freedom of speech does come with consequences both good or hard. That was a terrible example of young people who should be a good example as leaders.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 19, 2017 12:32 p.m.

    The question about policing free speech is who decides what is politically acceptable speech, and how to punish people that aren't politically correct.

    Heaven help the poor soul who calls someone the "chairman" when we all know the correct term is "chairperson".

  • Joes toes west Valley City, UT
    Oct. 19, 2017 11:25 a.m.

    I’m not saying that I condone this type of speech, but what right does the school have to do anything to these girls. By the schools own admission the act did no happen on school property, or during school hours or involve the school in any way. Some of the girls were cheerleaders, but unless they were representing themselves as such, there is no school involvement. Since when did the school become the morality police?

  • dan76 san antonio, TX
    Oct. 18, 2017 3:02 p.m.


    "Grow up people. And quit making big things out of nothing."

    I witnessed a group of students chanting this racial slur while surrounding a minority child on a playground until she burst into tears. At that point she lashed out with her fists on her tormentors.

    Who was punished by suspension for this action? Not the bullying students, but her for fighting. No action was taken by the administration to defend this child, nor were the chanters sanctioned.

    Even though this action took place two decades ago when I was a student, I never forgot the impact it had upon her, as she did not return to school.

    My point is simple. Such an action displayed by these students may have far-reaching effect upon others. Therefore it is unacceptable. Hpefully these girls will learn from the experience and develop compassion for others.

  • Flying Finn Murray, UT
    Oct. 18, 2017 2:05 p.m.

    @CodyCougar - Salt Lake City, UT

    Has it ever crossed your mind that it would be highly offensive and insulting to watch someone burn the American flag? We can burn the flag but we can't offend anybody with politically incorrect speech??? Got it.

  • CodyCougar Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2017 1:00 p.m.

    I'm not sure what's most alarming, the bigotted phrase these northern Utah girls chanted, or the fact that it never crossed their mind that it would be highly offensive and insulting to just about anyone who hears it.

    Can anyone say "Hello suspension. Welcome to the rest of the year in home school."

  • shadowfx Chandler, AZ
    Oct. 18, 2017 11:26 a.m.

    People need to Grow Up. Stop being offended by everything they hear or read, Before long, we will no longer be able to talk as any word will be offensive.
    Guess what, hang out in a locker room with semi-pro players and hear them talk - guess what they are saying - yep the racial slur they are condemning.
    I agree hate breeds hate and teaching tolerance and kindness is needed more in our society. At the same time, people need to grow something and realize that before long, they will no longer be able to speak because it will offend someone else.
    We are only creating more Snowflakes who will one day run this country and enter the real world and workforce and will find out the hard way there are NO Safe Spaces to Hide!
    Parents, teach kids to be polite and kind, at the same time prepare them for lies ahead, because they will probably end up in your basement after college and it will be your fault!

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 18, 2017 11:04 a.m.

    Kids doing stupid, offensive stuff.
    Adults overreacting to demonstrate the are sufficiently politically correct.

    Will we see similar high dudgeon from all these offended folks if there is a video of some Utah teens (black or any race) chanting the lyrics of "rap music" which are so offensive that the Des News censors would never allow them to be quoted here?

    Mr. Olsen's comments in the article are a breath of fresh air and common sense. Listen to him, not the hyperventilating easily offended politically correct folks.

  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    Oct. 18, 2017 10:53 a.m.

    Maybe they were just singing rap song lyrics. Until this language is eliminated from rap music it seems hypocritical to judge the girls who says something a few times when others are saying it hundreds of times.

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    Oct. 18, 2017 10:10 a.m.

    @ Da Vinci

    you wrote:
    "Freedom of speech doesn't guarantee freedom from consequences".

    And what consequences are you suggesting?

    And just who will impose the enforcement of said consequences?
    The Ogden Chapter of the BrownShirts R US?

    Seriously, I suggest you actually study the 1st amendment with all seriousness.

  • worf McAllen, TX
    Oct. 18, 2017 9:30 a.m.

    Hmm? Profane video 'unacceptable', but burning the American flag is?

    Who makes up the rules?

  • squirt Taylorsville, ut
    Oct. 18, 2017 8:03 a.m.

    When hate is modeled by politicians and adults, this is what you get.

  • Bigger Bubba Herriman, UT
    Oct. 18, 2017 8:00 a.m.

    This is not a freedom of speech issue. This is a kids acting poorly issue. They chose to say some things that are offensive, so all they deserve is a slap on the wrist from parents and educators. Stop making this into a big issue.

  • milquetoasty Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2017 7:22 a.m.

    How many of you who are rushing here to defend their "right to free speech" (which by the way, has not been infringed on one iota), are also defending NFL players right to kneel during the National Anthem?

    If there were a Venn Diagram of "people who support NFL players kneeling," and "people who support racist speech (graffiti, videos, marches, etc...)," there would be almost zero overlap.

    Why is that?

  • Yorkshire Logan, UT
    Oct. 18, 2017 6:52 a.m.

    I'm more concerned at the inability to not only be unable to figure out this is not right, but the inability to figure out that you don't put stuff like this on the internet.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Oct. 17, 2017 10:17 p.m.

    What will a "wrist slap" response tell everyone? Without over-reacting, there must be a clear message that will show students and parents and citizens that this kind of behavior is not acceptable.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 17, 2017 8:01 p.m.

    The only person in the story with a rational outlook on the whole thing is Mr. Derek Olsen.

    Most people can agree what the girls said, in the context of the recording, is offensive, stupid, silly, immature and reflects poorly on them individually, their families collectively and probably the school and now everyone in Utah as well.

    However, people have a right to say offensive, stupid, silly, and immature things.

    What is missing is the context for the video. Part of a KKK rally? Or some dumb prank where kids were prodded to repeat some gibberish which when played backwards is offensive? There is a huge difference.

    Too many people are afraid to not go thermonuclear at the least bid of racial sensitivity lest they be branded evil white supremacist racists for not condemning stupid stuff.

    Now, for equal opportunity, let's see similar levels of outrage if some black teens are on video chanting the lyrics from some of the "rap music" which freedom of speech allows them to listen to and repeat. Lyrics which would never pass the DesNews censors' approval.

    Listen to Derek Olsen, not the hyperventilating easily offended PC crowd.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Oct. 17, 2017 7:29 p.m.

    I can think of some pretty thoughtless things I did as a teenager. I'm still mildly astounded by some of them because they were so at odds with what I thought of myself then - and now. But I did them nonetheless and 40+ years later they still have the power to make me squirm. (Good.)

    If this is the case for these young ladies - and I do hope it is - I feel for them. Everything is so public these days. Gone is the luxury of making your mistakes in relative privacy - and nursing their wounds there too.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Oct. 17, 2017 6:51 p.m.

    OK.... hold on here.... you are saying that the Book of Mormon musical is equal to the treatment that minorities have gotten over the last 40 years? You have got to be kidding me.

    This particularly from people from Utah. Good grief... do you have people locking their car doors because they are going through a mormon neighborhood? Do you have patrons at a gas station asking why that mormon is standing out side? Are you really trying to tell me any of you really know what "persecution" is.

    Our ancestors who really understood persecution would be rolling in their graves if they could hear this. How soft as a people have we become? And a lot of this "were persecuted" stuff comes from many people who think we are too PC now days. If these people really had to walk in these others peoples shoes, they couldn't take it.

    The church was extremely clear - no vagueness what so ever - about how we as Christians should be about any form of "isms". If you didn't get that message, you were not listening. Christians should be about standing up for those who can't stand up for themselves. It is absurd some call that being too Politically Correct.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Oct. 17, 2017 6:20 p.m.

    Do people here understand what they posted?
    Read other websites to see what they chanted. They posted it, with backwards audio -over a year ago. Now, it's posted with the real audio. Disgraceful.
    The ironic part is that if they actually did what they were chanting, they'd be disowned by their family.

  • HSTucker Holladay, UT
    Oct. 17, 2017 5:54 p.m.

    @Kouger: I remind you of your own words: "And as far as taking offense to everything, it's easy for you to ask/say; just wait until you're on the receiving end."

    I am quite confident that religious ridicule and persecution falls under the definition of "everything."

  • Da Vinci Salt Lake City , UT
    Oct. 17, 2017 5:36 p.m.

    Freedom of speech doesn't guarantee freedom from consequences.

  • New to Utah Provo, UT
    Oct. 17, 2017 5:22 p.m.

    These are young teenage girls who were goofing around and made a mistake. If you had teenage daughters who did gibberish and then got threatened how would you react? It's past time to calm down and let common sense and not PC run our lives.

  • Kouger Lehi, UT
    Oct. 17, 2017 4:42 p.m.

    "Latter-day Saints have been on the receiving end of offensive speech before."

    We're talking more about racial slurs and the LDS Church is no longer a Utah/whites only church anymore; it's international and multi-racial. Your point doesn't apply.

  • HSTucker Holladay, UT
    Oct. 17, 2017 4:05 p.m.

    @Kouger: "And as far as taking offense to everything, it's easy for you to ask/say; just wait until you're on the receiving end."

    Latter-day Saints have been on the receiving end of offensive speech before. We have already demonstrated how we react to, e.g., The Book of Mormon musical. The Church actually placed advertisements in the program.

  • 83Ute Ogden/Weber, UT
    Oct. 17, 2017 3:48 p.m.

    @UtahBruin (1:27 pm):

    "They did nothing wrong."


  • Kouger Lehi, UT
    Oct. 17, 2017 3:34 p.m.

    This is ridiculous! When is society going to stop taking offense to everything?

    As far as racial slurs go, it will stop when all people in the world are of the same race and color. Think about that.
    And as far as taking offense to everything, it's easy for you to ask/say; just wait until you're on the receiving end.

  • cocosweet Sandy, UT
    Oct. 17, 2017 3:33 p.m.

    If the school does nothing but turns a blind eye to the offensive behavior they are condoning it. If society does nothing then they are condoning it. We can say "oh it's just kids playing around". That could be said if a bunch of high schoolers hung nooses around the school (off property of course). "We're just kidding around".

    I don't think you can suspend these girls if this was not done during school time but certainly making it clear that the school, parents and society as a whole find what they did wrong is a most appropriate response.

  • Cougsndawgs West Point , UT
    Oct. 17, 2017 3:17 p.m.

    "It could still be a smear..."

    I get what you're saying but from the video and the article I think it's a stretch. Lots of kids these days do this "jibberish" thing, knowing full well what it says backwards, and then pat themselves on the back for their genius...and believe me some of them are very creative and funny. I believe their remorse is that they were trying to be funny and clever, and realized it wasn't...but as you pointed out I could be wrong. Just doesn't seem like it when taking all things into consideration.

  • Jman2 Taylor, AZ
    Oct. 17, 2017 3:17 p.m.

    Schools can suspend students for out of school comments or behaviors if "it can cause a disruption of the school and can affect the school" as the administrator mentioned in the article. Interesting choice of words he used. That can and has landed students in trouble in the past.

  • Cougsndawgs West Point , UT
    Oct. 17, 2017 3:13 p.m.

    "The School is a part of the government and people--including students--still maintain their rights in school, even if they use those rights in a way most people find abhorrent".

    I agree, these girls' right to freedom of speech is protected. Again, that is why there can and will be no legal ramifications for them. Suspension or getting kicked of the cheerleading squad are not legal reciprocity. Will they be fined, given sentences, be compelled by a judge to community service? Nope. Again, protection against legal judgement is not protection against social consequences.

  • Red Smith American Fork, UT
    Oct. 17, 2017 2:47 p.m.

    The School District is not a police agency for thoughts and expressions.

    Just because someone is a student in a certain school does not mean that schools bureaucrats have policing powers over the private lives of students.

    The School District is out of order or gets a failing grade on this one.

  • JMHO Kanab, UT
    Oct. 17, 2017 2:39 p.m.

    It could still be a smear. They did the act but did not know what was going to be done with the video. They could still feel remorse that they did it because they don't agree with the outcome.
    For example, you might give a speech where you say a lot of great things. Then someone edits your speech to make it look vulgar. You would still feel remorse for having said that because it allowed someone the opportunity to use it for wrong.

  • Kav Boise, ID
    Oct. 17, 2017 2:27 p.m.

    @Cougsndawgs - The School is a part of the government and people--including students--still maintain their rights in school, even if they use those rights in a way most people find abhorrent.

  • Cougsndawgs West Point , UT
    Oct. 17, 2017 2:17 p.m.

    "P.S. Let us hope and pray the relevant amendment is the first, not the second"

    Haha, I didn't even catch that...too much discussing the 2nd amendment lately so that was in my head. Thank you for catching that.

    Also, in regards to your comment, the article stated the girls in question had been spoken to and felt remorse so it wouldn't have been a smear campaign.

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    Oct. 17, 2017 2:05 p.m.

    The school has no authority here to suppress freedom of speech and expression.

    They should "counsel" these girls to knock it off and then the School Administrators should study the 1st Amendment with comprehension.

    Up to now, speech codes, particularly at public schools, have been deemed to be unconstitutional. (Doe v University of Michigan 1989)

    It reminds me of the Holladay Mayor who threatened the homeowner for the dummy he had hanging in his tree. As if he could legally have him remove it...LOL

    This is the result of Public Schools' failure to teach History, Civics and the Constitution anymore.

    btw...The 1st Amendment only applies to Government speech. A private Corporation, i.e. the NFL, can indeed control it's employees speech.

  • HSTucker Holladay, UT
    Oct. 17, 2017 2:02 p.m.

    "Initial accounts, including from many people who have rushed to the girls' defense on social media, claim the girls were challenged to record themselves saying gibberish, which resulted in the vulgar phrase when played backward."

    Ok, so could this be a heavily edited video that was deliberately manipulated to portray the girls in a very bad light? Could these girls be the victims of a smear campaign?

    Until the facts are known, let's not jump to conclusions. Mobocracy is not justice.

    P.S. Let us hope and pray the relevant amendment is the first, not the second.

  • Cougsndawgs West Point , UT
    Oct. 17, 2017 1:31 p.m.

    Before anyone jumps on this saying it's a freedom of speech issue, let's evaluate what freedom of speech means. Freedom of speech gives you protection against any legal or government punishment. These girls will not face any legal action or consequence. However, freedom of speech does not give one protection from losing privileges and social justice.

    It is well within the district's prerogative to suspend these girls and take extracurricular activities away from them. Being a Weber High School student carries responsibilities, and being a cheerleader is a privilege. When you decide to post something on facebook or instagram, you have that right, but that right does not absolve you of consequences outside the law. People lose their jobs for doing this kind of thing, and hopefully these girls will grow and learn from this experience that while their actions are protected by the 2nd amendment, they are not protected from losing privileges and facing social consequences.

  • UtahBruin Eagle Mountain, UT
    Oct. 17, 2017 1:27 p.m.

    This is ridiculous! When is society going to stop taking offense to everything?

    I realize not everyone in their life has expressed a racial slur. Whether intended and or pointed at someone, or in just passing conversation, or in a joke. WHO CARES?

    This article and the ideas of the school district leave me to believe this is being made a big deal because it just so happens to be against the "African-American" person. Really, who cares? Kids say some pretty dumb things, even adults do. To ask them to stay home from school. What does that accomplish? They did nothing wrong. I know at my sons high school, there is nothing in the code of conduct regarding racial slurs or words.

    Quit looking to create unwanted attention. You don't like it. Pull the kid aside, explain why you think it is wrong. Maybe they will understand, maybe they won't. Maybe they choose to invoke their right to freedom of speech. Never know. To tell them to stay home because they might have hurt someones feelings. Definitely a 911 emergency. Let's teach our kids what hurt really is, and maybe this garbage will stop.

    Grow up people. And quit making big things out of nothing.