A recent Twitter post from a Southington High School student has stirred up controversy about how students should be handling their social media, how racism still plays a role in society, and how the administration should take action.
The Twitter post was a video of a Southington High School student using vulgar and derogatory terms, saying sexually explicit statements, and even mentions using violence against African Americans. The video was posted around 6 p.m. on Dec. 12 and was originally shared with only a few people in a group chat then was posted publicly.
When the Southington High School administrators got wind of the situation the Southington, Superintendent of Schools, Timothy Connellan, sent an announcement out to the local families addressing the post and how the school would not tolerate such behavior. That same day the Southington Police Department also released a statement informing the public on how they would go about investigating who was involved in creating the post and who spread it online. Neither the police authorities nor the school administrators addressed what the punishment would be for these students’ actions.
It is quite appalling to me how in 2018 such acts of racism are still being openly displayed. The United States of America has been dealing with racism since the first Africans arrived from Spanish slave ships in 1619. Since then racism and prejudices against African Americans have contaminated American society. It doesn’t shock me that people in this world still have racist beliefs in their mind as it is not a belief that can be immediately erased from someone’s thoughts. However, what astonished me was how openly, without any discomfort or shame, a person is able to say such horrid phrases against people of color. This tells me as a society we are not denying racism as strongly as we should be, and by not rejecting it we are allowing racists to feel comfortable with conveying openly their beliefs. We must begin to prohibit any forms of racism in our lives to make people with racist thoughts realize their behavior is wrong, and hopefully have a shift in their thinking.
What is even more disheartening than just having a racist person post hateful statements is how the people acting on these racists beliefs are so young. For a young person to have cruel thoughts against another race is saddening as they had to get these thoughts from somewhere. Children usually get their outlook of the world from their parents or adult figures in their life. Adults are supposed to be role models for children and steer them in the right direction. This means they shouldn’t teach impressionable minds to hate others. Parents and any adult that has a role in a child’s life need to teach children how to show love, respect, and tolerance to others, not hatred. Only then maybe we can live in a world where high school students don’t feel the need to spread their negative views of others online via social media.
The rise of social media may have worsened racism in American society. This is because many people feel that social media is an outlet to express oneself and one’s opinions on certain topics. However, like in this case, what some people choose to post is disrespectful to certain people viewing it. I understand that as Americans our First Amendment Right is the freedom of speech. Nonetheless, with this law, we have to also take in other people’s’ perspectives into account. We have to all try to be respectful when it comes to voicing our opinions and if something posted on social media is callous that is a clear reason for the one who posted it to be punished.
The Southington High School student is just one of the many students across the nation who have posted statements on their social media accounts that caused an uproar in the school environment and country. It is crucial for students to learn morality in their school, not just knowledge to go towards their education. School administrators need to start taking action on what students post that is considered insensitive. This can be done by having administrators host a lesson informing students on the importance of being considerate of all people from all walks of life, and informing them about how what they post on their social media may affect their future. Once school administrators start teaching their students the importance of being respectful to others in all aspects of their life, students will hopefully have less offensive posts on their social media. We can use this Southington High School student as an example instead of just another “juvenile” as the Southington Police Department called the student.