A group of high school students from Hoover, Alabama were caught on film making making racist and anti-semitic comments. You can watch the film below, although be aware that many may find it deeply offensive.
The students — all white — are sitting around talking about the Holocaust in what seems to be somebody’s living room.
“F*** n*****’s, f*** Jews,” one boy says in a casual tone. A girl replies, “Jews are fine because they’re white. “We just need the n*****’s gone.”
One boy argues that if it weren’t for the Holocaust, the Jews would be “running the world.” The girl says that “n*****s” and “oreos” are the problem. A boy, gasping with laughter, says, “stick them in concentration camps and just bomb the.” “No, you have to wait until they die,” squeals the girl. The camera zooms in on the face of a boy who can’t stop laughing.
Hoover schools superintendent Kathy Murphy said she saw the video late on Sunday night. On Monday morning, she met with the principals of the two local high schools, Hoover High School and Spain Park High School. The principals confirmed that the students in the video are, indeed, students at their high schools.
Here’s what you need to know about Spain Park High School:
1. Some Students Say Spain Park HS Has Always Had a Problem With Racism
The video of the Hoover-area high school students went viral over the weekend. Local authorities have expressed shock and outrage about the video — but some Spain Park students say that this is nothing new. In fact, they say, Spain Park has always had a major problem with racism, and authorities may not be doing enough to address the problem.
Spain Park High School senior Unique Simpson told AL.com, “Honestly, I am so sick and tired of going through this same routine at Spain Park High School.” Simpson, who is African-American, said that she had faced many problems with racism while a student at the school — she told AL.com that authorities had not really addressed the problem. “I’ve been through so many personal experiences,” she said. “This needs to stop.”
Other social media users said that they were upset by the video but not surprised by it. Some said that they had attended Spain Park and that they had experienced racism themselves; others said that racism was a fact of life in “the rich part of Hoover.”
2. Hoover Authorities Said the Students’ Conduct Is in ‘Direct Conflict’ with the School’s Values
Authorities in Hoover, Alabama quickly condemned the video. The Hoover school system released a statement hinting that they would consider disciplining the students in the video; the statement said that they were looking into “options” under the Code of Student conduct. Authorities also stressed that the “conduct” in the film — the racist language, the anti-semitism, and the casual talk about concentration camps — is not in line with the school’s values. You can read the full statement below:
We have been made aware of a recently posted video that features Hoover School System students who appear to be engaged in disturbing conduct. The activity apparently took place this past weekend at a private residence. Although it was not part of any school function, the conduct in question is in direct conflict with our school system’s values and its mission. Our school administrators are carefully investigating the situation in order to assess our options under the Code of Student Conduct. In the meantime, the Hoover school community may be assured that the Board, together with its administrative and instructional staff, remains steadfastly committed to maintaining and strengthening a school culture that encourages and embraces diversity, inclusiveness, and tolerance.
3. Spain Park HS Has Been Named One of the Top High Schools in the US
Spain Park High School opened in 2001. The school is one of only two public schools in Hoover, a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama. Newsweek Magazine named Spain Park one of the “top high schools in the United States” 11 years in a row, according to the school’s own website. Spain Park has also won the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence Lighthouse Award. The school offers a number of Advanced Placement courses and has an extensive athletics program. The school has won 16 state athletic championships over the past 16 years, including for boys’ golf, boys’ indoor track, girls’ soccer, and girls’ basketball.
4. Spain Park’s Student Body is 61% White
Spain Park has 1,600 students in ninth- through 12th-grade. According to AL.com, the school has a student body that is 61 percent white, 22 percent black, 6 percent Asian, 6 percent Hispanic, and 5 percent mixed-race.
The school’s mission statement says:
“Spain Park High School exists to promote integrity, respect diversity, prepare students for academic excellence, and instill in our young adults a commitment to making a positive impact on the world.
Our mission supports the mission of Hoover City Schools: “In a safe, caring atmosphere of teaching and learning, Hoover City Schools provide each student with opportunities to develop exemplary character and achieve personal excellence through a rigorous and relevant curriculum.”
5. Just 55 Percent of Spain Park Students Are Considered ‘Proficient’ in Reading
According to US News & World Report, just 44 percent of students at Spain Park high school are considered “proficient” in math. 55 percent of the school’s students are proficient in reading. US News & World Report gives the student body a 37.3 on its “college readiness index,” out of a possible score of 100. However, the school outperforms other schools in the district, and way out performs other schools in the state when it comes to reading and math. US News & World Report also reports that 95 percent of Spain Park students graduate from high school.