A group of Michigan high school students sparked outrage when they joined a TikTok movement, creating a video of police brutality inspired by and seemingly mocking the death of George Floyd.
“I can’t believe the kids are doing this,” parent Jaimie Nasceif told the local outlet. Fox 2 Detroit. “I think that’s ridiculous and completely unacceptable.”
According to Fox 2, the video was recorded during an off-campus breakfast in August for Stevenson High School football players.
In the video, reposted on Instagram earlier this week by @metrodetroitnarc, white 9th graders wearing soccer jerseys stand in a circle on the outdoor field. They surrounded a Black student, who was kneeling on the ground. The Black student wears all black clothing, except for a cloth that acts as a blindfold, and he puts his hands behind his back as if he were being caught. The white students pointed their water guns at him.
“I dare you to shoot him,” said one of the white students.
The white student shouted what sounded like a gunshot and told the black student to fall to the ground. One of the students even pushed him as a signal to fall.
“Shoot him in the head,” said one student after the Negro hit the ground.
Then the circle of boys pretended to stomp and kick him while laughing. One of the white teammates told the black student to “go back to Africa.”
In a separate clip, the white stone players with water guns approach a Black teammate outside. (It is unclear if he is the same footballer in the previous scenario.) They shouted at him to “stop resisting” while pointing their guns. Then one of the white students ends the mock arrest by confronting the black child.
At the end of the video, someone in the group mentions George Floyd.
After the video went viral on social media, Stevenson High School Principal Kenneth L. Cucchi III told parents it was inspired by a TikTok Trends “Based on the tragic death of George Floyd,” Detroit Metro Times reported.
“The school is investigating this incident to ensure that no other unacceptable behavior has occurred other than this video,” the principal said, according to the statement. Times. “Preliminary disciplinary measures have been taken and the ongoing investigation will determine the final consequences.”
Follow TimesCucchi also said the school will use the video to teach other students about offensive content on social media.
“In the event that a diverse group of concerned students make the wrong choice – regardless of whether their stated purpose is not to intentionally harm or oppose others – the school will use it to help students understand why this is offensive and harmful to the fabric of our community,” he said.
This is not the first time Stevenson High School has been accused of discrimination.
Maya Hunko, a student whose brother plays on the soccer team, said the school is diverse but doesn’t “focus on cultural awareness,” Fox 2 reported.
Anthony Maharidge, a student at the school, started a online recommendations more than a year ago, held Stevenson and the Utica School District accountable for the “homophobia, agoraphobia, alienation, and racism” prevalent in the community.
“I shouldn’t feel judged in the hall every day. I’m sure many other minorities in the school/district feel the same way,” Maharidge wrote on the petition, which has received nearly 500 signatures.
In a statement, Utica Public Schools said the actions in the George Floyd-inspired video were inconsistent with its values.
“The images and messages in the video have no place in our community,” the statement read. “Although the event took place off-campus, student behaviors are expected to model our community values and the school’s code of conduct.”
The statement added that appropriate action has been taken and the district has opened an investigation.
“Continued discussions with coaches and adults involved to ensure that there is proper supervision at sponsored and unsponsored events involving sports teams, other students and staff,” the statement read. “Stevenson High School remains committed to creating a positive environment that respects all people and reflects our community values.”