A video of a Liberty High School (LHS) student using racist language has caused community backlash and a statement from the Issaquah School District (ISD).
KNKX first reported on the video on Tuesday, Jan. 28, detailing a Snapchat where a female LHS student did a cheer spelling out “KKK,” using the n-word and mentioning hanging black people. The video circulated through Snapchat throughout the high school community.
In early December, LHS principal Sean Martin sent out an email to families asking them to talk with students about not further sharing the video.
“We want to maintain and preserve an inclusive, welcoming, focused learning environment. We appreciate your support in helping us to do this,” Martin said in the email.
Martin said the school began looking into the video immediately.
On Jan. 26, ISD released a statement on the video after speaking to news media, calling it “unacceptable.”
The district also said it is unable to disclose disciplinary actions for specific students, but explained the steps taken to determine discipline in these sorts of cases, and for athletes.
“This often leaves community members unsatisfied as they naturally want to know what happened,” the district said in the release. “Our sincere hope and what we are working toward is to create a school culture where this kind of hate speech does not occur.”
The district statement goes on to say that hate speech “is very challenging for public schools” and that removing a student “is not a small action.” The video was not taken on school property.
LHS is near Renton but within the Issaquah School District. The district this year added equitable conduct language into student handbooks, and last spring the district held facilitated listening sessions with the school board for community members of color to share their experiences after a separate racist incident, previously reported on by Issaquah Reporter.
“We have a lot of work to do, but we are engaged and putting in every effort to make our schools a safe and welcoming place for all students,” the statement reads.
This story will be updated as more information is available.