Posted on February 22, 2012

Gainesville High School Students’ Racist YouTube Rant Forces Girls to Leave School, Apologize

Laura Hibbard, Huffington Post, February 21, 2012

After two minors from Gainesville High School in Gainesville, Fla., posted a nearly 14-minute-long racist rant on YouTube, the girls are “no longer students at the school,” WCJB-TV reports.

Last week, eight police officers were brought to the campus in light of death threats the girls were receiving in response to their videos. The videos included comments like, “You can understand what we are saying, our accents, we use actual words. Black people do not.”

Gainesville High School principal David Shelnutt did not go into detail on the extent of the disciplinary action taken against the girls, but did tell WCJB that their comments were not welcome at the school.

“There’s no place for comments like that, that video here at GHS,” Shelnutt told the station. “There’s no place for that in the Alachua County Public School System, and my opinion, no place for that in society in general.”

Since the video went viral last week, the girls have experienced harassment and said they feared for their safety. According to one report by the Gainesville Sun, one of the students involved was hiding out at a relative’s house while her mother was at work.

“Our lives have changed totally, 180 degrees,” her mother told the paper. “This has made her an adult really quick.”

The girls and one of their parents issued a formal apology in the paper Monday:

I am one of the girls who were in the racist video that got posted. I’m writing this so that I can tell people how truly sorry I am. I could never, in a million years, have pictured this happening with me involved. I wasn’t raised to hate people for their race, and I still don’t. I made a horrible decision in being a part of this video . . .

The girl also writes that she won’t make excuses, but hopes the community will eventually forgive her.

In another apology, the second girl’s mother says her daughter has gone into a depression following the backlash of the video, and hopes that the community will forgive her and end the harassment:

While we can never take back the words and actions that these two children have said, we have to start to heal and forgive IMMEDIATELY. Stop the violent threats to our homes and our children, stop the anger, because this will solve absolutely nothing, and most importantly, look at yourself for change and love.

According to the Gainesville Sun, the high school will wear orange, the color of racial tolerance, this week as a sign of solidarity.