Prior Lake Teen Targeted in Racist Video from Classmate
Abi Hilden, staff writer
A video of two students from Prior Lake High School has made headlines after circulating across social media. In the video, two students target a fellow classmate with racist slurs and encourage her to take her own life. The target of the video is a 14-year-old freshman girl at Prior Lake High School. She and her older sister, who is a senior at Prior Lake High School, have spoken out about other videos that were made after they brought attention to the original video in question.
An investigation into the perpetrators of the video has begun, with police working with the school district, Scott County Attorney’s office, and the Savage Police Chief. Officials can still only disclose little information about the girls in the video and any legal punishment they may face. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community has identified one of the harassers in the video as a member of their community. They have since condemned her actions.
Prior Lake High School sent out a letter to parents after the video surfaced, reassuring them that teachers, counselors, and administrators have continued to make space for students to talk about the video. The superintendent of the Prior Lake-Savage schools has declined to comment on if the students in the video have been disciplined by the district. The student targeted in the video and her older sister have made it clear that they want the school to take action against those involved.
“They feel safe and comfortable to continue to do these things because they do not get punished at school, and they do not get punished at home,” said the targeted student’s sister in an interview with Fox 9 News.
The student who was targeted believes that specific comments made in the video are directed toward her struggles with mental health and her recent completion of an inpatient program for those struggles.
The surrounding community has given the subject of the video support, even going so far as to protest on her behalf. Augsburg Critical Race and Ethnicities Studies Professor Ly Nguyen believes that focusing on the community is far less important than supporting her on an individual level.
“While it is always important to contextualize racist incidents in a bigger picture (community level), it is of utmost importance to cater to [the targeted student’s] healing personally and make space for her to feel safe again in her daily life,” said Nguyen. “This incident is symbolic in its nature, but we cannot and should not skip ahead to think about ‘the community’ before properly addressing the person who has been hurt the most in this situation.”
The student harassed by the girls in the video has been grateful for the support she has received from her friends, family and community, even offering words of support for those going through similar situations.
“I would tell other girls, other students, or just people that are going through stuff like this that it gets better,” she said in an interview with KESQ News Channel 3. “My best advice is just to stay strong throughout it all and remember that you have so many support systems and so many people that love you.”
Students who wish to speak out about this issue may contact Prior Lake High School at the number 953-226-8600, or the Prior Lake High School superintendent at the number 952-226-0010.
The Echo recognizes the impact that a name holds, both when calling out racism and empowering those speaking of their own experiences. Simultaneously, we have committed to high journalistic standards and publishing the names of minors could be seen as a violation of that. We stand with the student who was harassed by her classmate and encourage all readers to hear her address this situation personally by finding interviews with her on Kare11 News and video of her speaking at a protest on @mnteenactivists on Instagram.