AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – A video circulating with students from Evans High School is spurring questions about how schools handle issues with social media and their students.
It started with one video that surfaced over the holiday weekend: four different girls from Evans High School, lip-syncing an edited song that contains a racial slur more than nine times.
The question now is where do incidents like this fall in the Columbia County Code of Conduct and what can schools do about it.
“Absolutely, we look into everything that’s brought to our attention,” Columbia County associate superintendent Penny Jackson said.
While school leaders wouldn’t discuss the specifics of this case, Jackson did speak about how incidents like these are handled.
“If it impedes on the school day, meaning if it’s an event that happens off-campus, but trickles its way into the school day, then we have to respond to it and hold our kids accountable,” Jackson said.
In the Columbia County Code of Conduct for high schools, Jackson says these things can fall under many categories.
“Our Code of Conduct talks about discrimination in general and also it falls under different categories that you can place it. We just have to look at every fact,” she said.
Other categories may even include bullying and cyberbullying and can also include student incivility. This means students can be punished for disrespect to other students or staff with vulgar or inappropriate language. The consequences can vary.
“Depending on the circumstances, it could be anywhere from principal’s discretion up to what their investigation finds. It could range from suspension all the way to long term suspension or recommendation for the alternative school,” Jackson said.
Jackson reminds us that incidents like these can follow students down the road.
“We have to make sure our kids know that it can follow them for quite a long time and we want them to be smart and safe,” she said. “We just have to look at every fact and leave no stone unturned to make sure we get the details.”
Columbia County school leaders wouldn’t discuss any specifics of this case, only saying that the investigation is still open. They do say incidents are typically handled at the school level and it’s at the discretion of school leaders.
Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.