While there are plenty of lighthearted, sweet TikTok videos out there, every social media platform is also home to plenty of offensive, hateful content. In a video posted to TikTok and highlighted by The Focus, a student at Tigard High School says a string of racist, offensive words. The video caused outrage at the school and also ed to a student walkout.
Tigard High School students staged a protest over a TikTok video.
In the video, a student runs through a list of offensive terms she uses for various religious, racial, and ethnic groups. That included specific slurs for Black, Muslim, Asian, and Latino people. As the video started to go viral online, students at the school staged a walkout that was designed to protest their peers' comments. The walkout was staged on Dec. 1 and was covered by a number of local news outlets.
In photos from the protests, you can see students walking out of school holding signs and shouting anti-racism slogans. KGW News in Oregon also interviewed students who were participating in the walkout.
“Watching that video made me disgusted. I was sick to my stomach when I first saw that video," one student said.
"I cried. I felt unsafe at my school," another added. "My skin isn’t even as dark as some of these other beautiful Black women here who were literally called m-----s."
“You can’t even walk 15 feet without being called a racial slur. It’s not okay to be called anything to anyone – it’s not okay at all," a third said.
The video clearly had an impact, and students felt it was important to call attention to it. The school district has also responded to the video, although they haven't provided details on how the student who posted the video has been punished.
The superintendent of the district was part of the walkout.
Tigard-Tualatin School District superintendent Sue Rieke-Smith was among the students who walked out over the video on Dec. 1, although the district is not allowed to comment on how particular students are punished. Sue told KGW News that students aren't typically expelled in the district.
“That (expulsion) list is very short and tight,” Sue said during the walkout. “Typically, it has to do with threats of violence or repeated acts that demonstrate the student does not want to be a member of the community.”
She also added that she couldn't recall an example of a student being expelled for hate speech, before saying that the video was “horrific, disappointing and disgusting” and that it didn’t “represent what Tigard-Tualatin School District believes in."
Clearly, the entire district sought to distance themselves from this video, and from the student who posted it. Although it seems unlikely that the student has been expelled from the school, Tigard High School and its students wanted to make it clear that that kind of speech was never acceptable, whether it's said in the hallway or posted on TikTok.