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Alta High incident overblown, friends, parents of accused student say

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  • JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt Beverly Hills, CA
    March 29, 2011 2:12 p.m.

    When did Hitler's killing of millions of people become funny? If the hood wasn't a KKK hood, what was it a coincidence?

    What if it had been a guy running around in 1800's clothing with a paper that said Mormon Extermination Order? Shout of "Mob power!!!" Would that be funny?

    Those who don't think this is a big deal get to live in their shell of comfort because you don't know what it is like to be targeted and intimidated with racial "humor".

  • Peter Coyotl West Jordan, UT
    March 29, 2011 2:22 p.m.

    The area around Alta is about 90% white according a recent map published in the NY Times representing data from the latest census. It does not surprise me that most parents in the area would think it was over blown.

    If I was in an area where a group, say the LDS, were an extreme minority, and if someone wore garments to a school rally it would be offensive. But most parents would probably think that a suspension and any media attention would be overblown.

    I guess it matters which side of the aisle you are sitting at determines how one perceives an event.

  • SJ Mom Draper, UT
    March 29, 2011 2:26 p.m.

    This isn't about this specific instance, it's about having someone to blame like two veteran administrators. Why isn't the superintendent willing to support his administrators rather than to throw them under the bus? Hmmm... there is something more going on here...

  • Teafortwo salt lake city, utah
    March 29, 2011 2:28 p.m.

    Meanwhile, back in the real world, approximately 100 people will be murdered in the USA today. And most of the perpetrators and victims will belong to ethnic minority groups.

    Where are the protests about that? Or doesn't that count?

  • Positive View South Jordan, Utah
    March 29, 2011 2:40 p.m.

    If this is a true representation of what happened, it is a serious overreaction by the district. I suspect that there was a little more to it than just a student defending his class color. However, there must be proof to show that the student intended for it to be a racist act and understood the impact of such an act on others before action is taken against him. Any action taken at that time should fit the full "facts" of the case and not just be a reaction to the fact that one or more students were offended by the act. After all, people being people often take offense where not was intended.

    The same applies to the administration. They have a right to at least the same due process as the student. Unfortunately the way this incident is unfolding looks much more like a lynching. I believe that was also part of the racial history of this nation. So we treat a situation that may or may not have had intended racial overtones by using another bad part of the abominable racial history of our country to deal with it.

    Did not Dr. Doty earn a JD?

  • screenname123 Sandy, UT
    March 29, 2011 2:46 p.m.

    Whether you think it's overblown or not, we are talking about a 16-17 year old kid being an idiot. Kids do dumb things. I think it's safe to assume that he's not a member of the local KKK Chapter. This episode has made National News. The kid wearing the pillow case (let's keep in mind that it was a pillow case and NOT a hood) has been raked over the coals. The Adminstration has been suspended. Lesson learned. I am pretty certain that everyone has got something out of this and will be more sensitive. Get the kid and admin's back in school and move on. Yes it was terrible. But no one was hurt or killed. Kids screw up. If it was your kid, you would have forgiven by now. Probably grounded him. But certainly forgiven him.

  • utahprincipal801 Sandy, UT
    March 29, 2011 2:46 p.m.

    This is a tragedy all around, for our community. The comments in this young mans's blog are filled with language that is unfit for display anywhere, no matter what the topic. I am sickened and appalled that these students raised in our community obviously feel that this sort of communication is acceptable. Are the parents of these kids ever checking their computer use? Children who communicate in this manner need serious intervention, and this begins at home. The bullying language used in these comments should be a wake-up call to everyone, as well.

  • Big_Bird West Jordan, UT
    March 29, 2011 2:49 p.m.

    I graduated from Alta. I am racking my brain trying to come up with a scenerio where something, even remotely, resembling a KKK hood would be even a little bit funny.

    If things happend as described here, shame on anyone who did not just get up and leave the auditorium when this "clown" dawned his hood.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    March 29, 2011 3:04 p.m.

    He offended in a public way, let him apologize in a public way, and then forgive him and forget. Lesson learned.

  • John20000 Cedar Hills, UT
    March 29, 2011 3:17 p.m.

    Seniors wear all black, juniors wear all white...who set that up? Black vs. white? Which teacher fumbled the ball on creating this insensitive "learning" environment. Overblown or not, why do it to begin with?

    This young man was a junior this year competing for the white team against the black team. Rules his school set up.

    Is he a bona fide racist? Maybe or maybe not. Someone should find out, but he's obviously at least too immature for this "learning" activity at his high school and I am guessing he's wasn't the only one acting immature at the spirit rally.

  • Confused Sandy, UT
    March 29, 2011 3:26 p.m.

    Here's the thing....
    Was the kid being stupid? Yes.
    Was the kid intending to do something Racist? Don't believe so.
    Was the offended kid making a mountain out of a mole hill? Probably
    Is EVERYONE over-reacting? YES..

    This PC crap has to stop... People who LOOK for racism will find it intended or not.
    Have we got to the piont where we are so sensative to offending someone else we go so overboard that we now have to watch every single thing we do? I say "get over yourself".

    I know what racism is, my family comes from the deep south, aso it first hand in the 60's.

    This was simply a kid doing something stupid. The principal should have pulled the kid in and have a talk. THE END!

  • hatuletoh Sugarhood, UT
    March 29, 2011 3:29 p.m.

    Yep, just what I figured I would find here: comments from people, just like some parents at Alta, who don't understand what the big deal is.

    To explain: the big problem isn't that a high school kid made a very tasteless joke. Adolescents do that sort of thing all the time, and it's actually kind of heartening that the world has improved enough that the kid didn't grasp just how inappropriate the joke was. The big problem was that the school administrators didn't do anything. All they needed to do was sit down with the kid and his parents for a talk about what happened, bring him up to speed on the history of race-related violence in this country (something a few Deseret News commentors need as much as the high school student), and make sure he understands why what he did was inappropriate.

    Apparently, though, the school administrators did nothing, and therein lies the problem. The incident itself was, as many have pointed out, was intended only as a joke, not as a threat to anyone. But it needed to be addressed by the responsible adults.

    Everyone clear on that?

  • MenaceToSociety Draper, UT
    March 29, 2011 3:35 p.m.

    Incidents of descrimination like this are overblown.... if they're aimed at a group that is different than you. If the descrimination is aimed at your group, it is not overblown.

  • TJ Eagle Mountain, UT
    March 29, 2011 3:54 p.m.

    Anyone can be offended by anything if they try hard enough. The assumption here is that the student meant to offend and that he put the white pillow case on his head to purposefully portray the KKK. The explanation of why he did this (which had nothing to do with race) is reasonable and the student should be taken at his word unless there is strong evidence to the contrary such as him saying that it was race motivated.
    People; you need to grow up. You can't prevent everyone from having their feelings hurt. what we encourage with this type of attention is a society who sues and presses charges every time someone looks at them the wrong way(in their opinion) or says something they don't like. Grow up and get over it!

  • Anne26 West Jordan, UT
    March 29, 2011 4:00 p.m.

    Obviously, the young man who wore the white hood is extremely ignorant and over-indulged. I don't believe he is even aware of how horrible his actions were. It sounds like parents and teachers need to take this opportunity to educate not only this student, but others like him, on the history of racism in this country.

    There is not anything about this situation that is funny.

  • utahprincipal801 Sandy, UT
    March 29, 2011 4:12 p.m.

    Knowing what the due process issues for all involved here, the district would not have taken the steps they have, without some serious previous issues documented. This is a sad day, and I wish everyone involved a chance to learn, heal, and move on.

  • SouthSLCDad Draper, Ut
    March 29, 2011 4:18 p.m.

    The only ones making a big deal out of this are the ones that didn't see what actually happened.
    It also seams odd to me that the kid who supposedly took offence to this has a father trying to sell a book about racism.

  • NedGrimley Brigham City, UT
    March 29, 2011 4:25 p.m.

    Hmmmmm. Read the kids blog, then read the comments to his blog. Then come back and tell me there's no racism problem there.....

  • doksie American Fork, UT
    March 29, 2011 4:38 p.m.

    white, black, and red are the school colors. no one was trying to pit white against black. They were all just assigned a school color.

  • Jimmer77 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 29, 2011 4:47 p.m.

    Let's outlaw anything white (and black).

  • Beaker Draper, UT
    March 29, 2011 4:49 p.m.

    Yes, the kid should not have done it, he thought it would be funny. It's something that most of us have seen in the movies. Remember the scene in "Scary Movie" where a rapper who is white is on stage rapping in front of a black crowd? After he's done, the crowd is cheering but then he puts on the hood from his jacket and it mistakenly looks like a KKK hood. The entire crowd stares in silence while pointing their revolvers at the white singer. Wrong on a couple of levels, but funny?

    When we start seeing behavior like this in the movies, we begin to feel that it's OK to poke fun of peoples' race and religion and especially for a 16 year old it's hard to see where those barriers are. The kid has been suspended and has apologized. I think he's been through enough. Lesson learned.

  • Gosh-DUH Burlington, CT
    March 29, 2011 4:49 p.m.

    From the article, "During this year's assembly, the parents of the student accused of racial discrimination said, their son was chanting "white power" with members of the junior class in opposition to the students cheering "black power."". Were some students offended because the senior class was cheering "black power"? Seems ridiculous to expel the student accused of racial discrimination. sensitive folks. maybe the school needs to change its school colors so no one is offended by white, black or red. were Native Americans offended too?

  • JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt Beverly Hills, CA
    March 29, 2011 4:57 p.m.

    "he began running in circles while showing his support for the general Nazi cause, hailing Hitler."

    Make excuses for that one those of you who say "look for racism hard enough you will find it".

    White power and Hitler have done tremendous damage and has resulted in millions of deaths. This is not a harmless event. The kid was purposefully taunting.

    You know darn sure that if this were an anti LDS demonstration this principle would have been fired before he could take his next breath.

    This incident is not overblown and is quite serious. If you don't think it is serious, then you are part of the privileged class that thinks they never need top worry about this stuff. Racism is alive and well.

  • lsslc Salt Lake City, UT
    March 29, 2011 4:59 p.m.

    I grew up in Utah. I am white. I lived on the South side of Chicago for six-years as a minority before moving back to Utah and I now have a very different view on racial issues in this state. This is a case of extreme ignorance to black history and racial issues in general, simply because of the lack of diversity here; the incident at Alta High attests to that.

    Do I think this kid meant real harm? No. Do I think this incident was overblown? Maybe, but I'm glad it was. Utah in general is way behind on racial issues and we need some heightened awareness of the history and how that translates to today. Not everything is fixed and perfect between races, not on any side, and anyone who thinks racism is in the past or a joke, is disrespectful and ignorant. Ignorance is a very dangerous thing.

  • Mom of Six Northern Utah, UT
    March 29, 2011 5:07 p.m.

    How many Utah kids really know much about the Klan anyway? Being a mom of three teens, I can tell you that with this generation the Klan means very little compared to my generation (X) or my parents generation (Baby Boomer) for that matter. The kids were wearing costumes to reflect their year colors. I wouldn't be surprised at all...this being "white" Utah if this student really understood the all of the ramifications that his stupidity would bring. Was it a poor choice? Sure, but we are making more of it than it needs to be.... I don't think this student needs his life ruined for making one poor choice.
    I believe that racism needs to be eliminated in all forms; however, I would be more concerned if this was an ongoing problem that the administration turned a blind eye to.

    One more note..The young man with the blog is sure getting alot of attention, and his moment in the spotlight as well. Just shows that it pays in this country to find offense in anything.

  • iRSLfan Salt Lake City, UT
    March 29, 2011 6:04 p.m.

    Many people don't realize that many other racism related things have been happening at alta and for this "joke" to happen at the same time seems like to much of a coincidence.
    There was a racist text floating around and the kid who wore the kkk sheets has done it before.

  • beetdiggingcougar Provo, UT
    March 29, 2011 6:09 p.m.

    To the poster from Beverly Hills, care to tell us how racially diverse that city is?

  • cvguy Lehi, Utah
    March 29, 2011 7:01 p.m.

    Of course the parents of the kid who wore the hood say the whole issue is overblown, why would they want to be responsible for their hood wearing kid. Why would they want to admit he did anything wrong, it is much easier to blame someone else. The kid messed up, admit it and move on, don't just make excuses for his behavior.

  • gb97 American Fork, UT
    March 29, 2011 7:03 p.m.

    Well I can't speak to the motives of the student, but either way it looks bad:

    1. the student is intentionally racist

    or

    2. The student has reached high school completely ignorant of American history and racial relations.

    What could possibly go on in that student's mind?

  • Reasonable Person Layton, UT
    March 29, 2011 7:19 p.m.

    Beaker asks "Remember the scene in "Scary Movie" where a rapper who is white is on stage rapping in front of a black crowd?"

    Actually, no. Why would anyone pay money to see such trash?

    Tell us you didn't take your kids to it?

    AND YES, GO READ THE COMMENTS ON THE KID'S BLOG>
    Children learn from their parents, and there's a lot of shameful parents in the Alta HS area.

  • Reasonable Person Layton, UT
    March 29, 2011 7:22 p.m.

    @Mom of Six

    Oh, yeah. The boy who's getting "all that attention" sure is!
    I guess you read ALL of the comments being directed at him -- and you dare proffer that it's a benefit to him?

    If your child doesn't know about the Klan, your child hasn't been educated on lots that's important. Homeschool?

  • Duh west jordan, ut
    March 29, 2011 7:36 p.m.

    Fair to say that the accused kid was being stupid. Have you even read the comments on the kids blog? This whole thing has been a chance for those who are racist, both against "whites" and "black", to go ahead and express their racist opinions. Just read the comments and you will find just as many anti-white comments as there are anti-black. How come it's not "against the rules" to be offensive to whites?
    Me myself, i'm a minority. I know exactly what it's like to be put up against racist situations. Get over it. Minorities get a lot of breaks because their not white. They have a greater chance of getting into colleges because their not white. Thats life.

  • SLDrone Centerville, UT
    March 29, 2011 7:39 p.m.

    Racism and Bigotry cuts both ways
    It is a fallacy to assume the antic was racially motivated. Lets not besmudge the boy, pretend to know his motivations and character, and most importantly lets not rush to judgement about his upbringing and his family.

    Unless you know him and his family personally, please dont rush to judge his parents, his neighborhood or him based on a stereotype. Isnt that the the same mistake the KKK made in the first place?

    We can analyze the action and judge it wrong, but let us not assume to know what the boy was thinking, or more likely NOT thinking.

  • SLDrone Centerville, UT
    March 29, 2011 7:42 p.m.

    Ive read Mr. Cosbys blog and also scrolled through the 200 or so comments. There is a common theme. For the most part those that were NOT there assume the boy who donned the hat was racially motivated and react accordingly. Those that WERE there and who know both boys react quite differently, claiming that the boy is in fact not racist but rather a tool and clueless as to the history and suffering of blacks and the role the KKK played.

    Here is what I gather from eyewitness accounts.

    1. The boy in question is not racist, his best friend is black. His antic was focused on the senior black clad class and not blacks as a race. Yes it was stupid, but stupid not racially motivated. Rather than being labeled a racist the boy needs some education with regard to the plight of blacks in this country.

    2. Mr. Cosby himself has somewhat of a reputation for using racial slurs and behaving as a bully. He and his father are using this event rather disingenuously for publicity of an upcoming book.

    3. Mr. Cosby is not entirely accurate in his reporting of the event.

  • Goet Ogden, UT
    March 29, 2011 7:42 p.m.

    Anyone have any comments about the state-funded scholarship program that only provides monies to white males? It discriminates against females, latinos, and blacks alike. Only white males are allowed to be apportioned any taxpayer scholarship funds.

  • Arizona2 Tucson, AZ
    March 29, 2011 8:07 p.m.

    Racism is deplorable in all its forms and if there is any sort of a history of threatening behavior or exchanges involving this student, he should be expelled (and perhaps further action is warranted). However, accusing someone of racism who had no intention to offend or have his act construed as that of a racist statement is almost as reprehensible. I don't say it is equally reprehensible because some people may be overly sensitive because of racism that may have been directed toward them in the past. High school kids make bad decisions sometimes, not realizing what they are be doing could be misconstrued. I'm not sure what the case is here, but I struggle to associate a pillowcase with a KKK pointed hood unless there was other behavior that suggested a racist sentiment. Whatever the case, I hope the district can get to the bottom of it and move on.

  • UtahUte16 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 29, 2011 8:44 p.m.

    Crazy Alta Falcons. This is way overblown!

  • Christy Beaverton, OR
    March 29, 2011 9:11 p.m.

    From the article:

    "When asked about racism in schools, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said Tuesday it's important that Utahns be welcoming to everyone."

    That's true. It IS important. And it's important for parents to be good examples to their children. This means not verbally bashing those whose skin color and heritage might be different from their own.

    Little pitchers have big ears.

  • ohioan Draper, UT
    March 29, 2011 9:47 p.m.

    What suddenly made the school(Alta) unsafe today that they need the police?

  • Mom of Six Northern Utah, UT
    March 29, 2011 10:29 p.m.

    @Reasonable Person

    Mr. Cosby has a book deal, and the publicity is not hurting him. After all, he is young too and is getting some attention from all of this as well. I feel bad that he chose to be offended rather than shaking it off, and considering the source.

    BTW- My children are not homeschooled...I wrote my comment to make the point that here in Utah we have very little exposure to the KKK. Although children can read about the Klan in textbooks and hear of what hate can do... reading and experiencing first hand are two separate events.
    The actions of this student are stupid and deplorable, but speaks of ignorance not hate.

  • The Sensible Middle Bountiful, UT
    March 29, 2011 10:40 p.m.

    The situation is not overblown. It is good the powers that be don't tolerate what happened. That said I there is no evidence of significant malace here, just youthful ignorance. He deserves to be forgiven and I hope he will be and soon.

    It doesn't help that the the boys parents say the issue is overblown, ... it isn't. They need to understand that undeserved hurt can occurr in cases even where it wasn't intended. The offended kid should in no way just suck it up or put up with what happened. He was right to not tolerate this. He was right to stand up for himself and others by speaking out.

  • Laurels Sandy, UT
    March 29, 2011 10:41 p.m.

    I believe there may be more to the situation than is contained in the news story. The fact the district put two senior level administrators on paid leave, administrators who have worked in the Jordan and Canyons Districts for many years, several days after district people began an investigation into the one incident, as well as the police presence, seems to indicate to me that there is more going on than the one incident mentioned in the article.

  • Northern Logan, UT
    March 30, 2011 1:12 a.m.

    I read the kids blog I think that kid should be punished.

    Why is it only white people that can be accused of racism?

  • My2Cents Kearns, UT
    March 30, 2011 4:26 a.m.

    Nothing like teaching children about racism, even if it wasn't a raciest gesture. The authorities are assuming the act was to be racist. What about another scenario, a ghostly figure, aren't they always portrayed and draped in a white head to toe? Does ghost costumes mean some one is portraying the KKK or some-other offensive idea? Maybe we need to pass a law that ghost costumes cannot be used for halloween, they look to much like a KKK.

    The real racist is not the student or administration, its the racist slobs who have narrow minded focus and are the race police. Weak and narrow minded people are the ones who are offensive to the rest of the natural world. People who are ashamed of themselves and how they look and their heritage are the real racist. If people are too weak to overcome what they are that is not the fault of society or the laws.

  • Goet Ogden, UT
    March 30, 2011 5:08 a.m.

    Oh... my mistake.

    I didn't mean to say that schools discriminate against black, females, and latinos in order to have a whites-only scholarship program funded by the taxpayer.

    It's the other way around. MESA exists as a tax-funded, MINORITIES ONLY club and scholarship program.

    Just imagine if someone were to start a WASP school club or a whites only tax-funded scholarship.

    Discrimination works both ways. This story may have little to nothing to do with actual racism, but people are getting fed up with discrimination of all flavors.

  • mecr Bountiful, UT
    March 30, 2011 5:39 a.m.

    The district's letter said itself this incident is not the only one. Who knows what they had found.

    I am surprised to read from parents claiming kids don't know about KKK. Maybe they think their kids believe babies come from Paris too?

    Finally, what about if they send the student to attend an assembly of some New York high school and do the same thing. I am pretty sure the student would hardly survive.

  • Springvillepoet Springville, UT
    March 30, 2011 6:35 a.m.

    First, Ned G is right. Go and find Larz Cosby's blog and see for yourself. The last time I checked, there were more than 700 responses to his post---many filled with unambiguous, undeniable hate speech from students at Alta High.

    Second, the original KKK hoods were made from flour sacks and pillow cases. It's not that it was a hood, but it reminded the student of a hood.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    March 30, 2011 6:36 a.m.

    For a very long time, I've felt that Utah has a bit of a tin ear when it comes to racial issues. The underlying issues just have not been part of the culture, and most Utahns really don't get it, even thought they think they do. It's understandable to a degree, but they just don't.

  • mightyhunterhaha Kaysville, UT
    March 30, 2011 7:15 a.m.

    Wake up parents and friends of Alta View! I'm white but my kids are black and hispanic. We have people that think it's ok to make comments, or do actions and then say "it was a joke". If some one complains the response is 'You're being too sensitive. Grow up and wake up! It's the 21st century. You are the problem. This behavior is unacceptable. If you believe this is ok go back an live in your cave because you do not belong in civilized society. Think before you open your mouth.

  • DBeck Eagle Mountain, UT
    March 30, 2011 7:20 a.m.

    The insensitivity expressed here is a representation of a larger issue of insensitivity that has crept into our social discourse over the past couple of decades. It has been driven by the largely negative, even hateful "entertainment" available on the AM radio dial through various talk radio personalities. It has led us to a point where if you don't agree with the prevailing political ideology, you are Socialist, Communist or, Un-American for having a different view of things. That is just as ridiculously PC as being "oversensitive" to a youthful "indiscretion." The real issue is that very often, people in a bad or tough situation will tell you a version of the story that does not paint them in a totally bad nor very accurate light. I bet in and through all of the "versions" of this story is the truth. Too bad we may never know.

  • the cost of freedom salt lake city, ut
    March 30, 2011 7:28 a.m.

    To SJ mom and others who say the adm. should support these guys. It bothers me as I graduated from SJ and there is no room for the good ol boy system in the world of academia. The history of SJ has led to the attitude of the desecration of the graves of the ancients by people who were teachers as well as others in positions of trust. Maybe if someone had reminded others that stealing wasnt apart of the dominant society's culture then three good human beings would be still alive. Yet the rhetoric continues and remains acceptable down your way by those who think they have a right of passage. What concerns me is ..would such an antic be acceptable in front to the Utah Jazz team or for that matter religious leaders or parents of colors. Some of these students are attending seminary and preparing to give a message of peace...for two years of their lives which is noble. What is more noble is the message of the mighty change by those who put the candle in the window of the train of peace. The greatest of all teachers reigns!

  • SLDrone Centerville, UT
    March 30, 2011 7:48 a.m.

    I don't think I've ever seen such a media hyped hysteria over any issue. It really punctuates the old adage that you can't believe anything you read in the newspaper.

    (Alta administrators were put on leave due to OTHER issues that were uncovered during the investigation of the hood wearing incident)

    Based on both written and video testimonies of dozens of witnesses that were actually at the assembly and attend Alta High, we could reach the conclusion that the incident was NOT intended racially. Even other black students (Javon and Ammon) say they know both boys and say they know the white kid while perhaps clueless is not racist. Both have also said that Larz has blow this way out of proportion. Multiple witnesses close to the events have said the white boy has tried repeatedly to talk to and apologize to the black boy, but that black boy isn't having any of it.

    In spite of all this the media hype continues and people that were not there continue to be whipped up in a race riot hysteria.

  • gizmo33 St. George, Utah
    March 30, 2011 8:23 a.m.

    if it was a kind of a black joke about white nothing would of been done but if its a white joke about black oh oh break out the lawyers and that is just the way it is out there and dont say its not because it is

  • Considering Stockton, UT
    March 30, 2011 8:53 a.m.

    I'm glad the DesNews has printed this follow up piece with some additional information.

    I wasn't there, I don't know what happened. I certainly don't know what the INTENT of the student was. But I know that one person's intentions cannot necessarily be discerned by how another person reacts.

    The student who donned the white pillowcase may well be racist and had every intention of offending or intimidating.

    OR, he may have been completely innocent not intending anything offensive and never making any connection between his get up and the wardrobe choices of the night riders. I mean if one wanted to look hard enough one could see some connections between KKK robes/hoods and the world's easiest ghost costume for Halloween (a white sheet with two eye holes cut in it).

    Or, anything in between these extremes.

    Most of those commenting here and jumping to conclusions also were not there. Some however see racism behind every tree. Others, would not admit to racism if it bit them on the derriere.

    We would all do well to reserve judgment just a bit until we get a few more facts.

  • Belching Cow Sandy, UT
    March 30, 2011 8:57 a.m.

    It sure is easy for the media to get people worked into a frenzy. We better bring in some counselors to help the students deal with the traumatic stress this incident has caused. I can hardly bear to think of the mental anguish they are going through. They should also bring in some people with fancy phd's to hold some diversity training. Maybe add few more police to patrol the hallways.

    Was the kid acting like a bonehead? Yes. Should he be punished? Yes. Should the school officials be punished? No. Was this blown out of proportion? Yes. People make fun of my religion all the time. I feel sorry for them being ignorant more than I feel mad or traumatized.

  • Hugo Stiglitz Ogden, UT
    March 30, 2011 8:58 a.m.

    Well this shows how much of a bubble Utah is. If this kid had worn a "pillow case" to the High School I went to in another state, he would have been sent home in a coma from the beating he would get for this offensive act. But in Utah, he is defended and anybody who objects is too politically correct.

  • Robert Johnson Sunland, CA
    March 30, 2011 9:01 a.m.

    It is a sad day when you have parents attempting to justify the actions of this child rather than using it as a teaching moment to explain how horribly wrong his actions were. Perhaps this "justifying" by the parents is an indication that the child learned these actions and attitudes from these parents...or perhaps it is an indication that some parents need to develop appropriate parenting skills. Either way, the actions of this child were clearly inappropriate and were not indicative of a student simply showing "pride" in his school.

  • mecr Bountiful, UT
    March 30, 2011 9:05 a.m.

    One thing is a teen being interviewed by the press showing his face to the public and another being interviewed in private. Teens want to be accepted and after what is happening to the kid who posted that blog, I don't think they would want that same attention to themselves. So, unless the media interviews the kids as anonymous, we will never know what is really happening behind doors. This is not the only incident. The letter says the district found more problems.

  • LDS Cedar City, UT
    March 30, 2011 9:17 a.m.

    Utah is becoming more diverse. But, there is a long ways to go until we reach the national averages of minorities vs white. Utah has a reputation for being overwhelmingly white, as well as having a predominant culture that hasn't always been accepting of minorities.

    It is safe to say all of us harbor feelings of difference with those that look different. Denying this is has always been politically correct. But we have to face up to the fact that WE personally must extend a hand of friendship, sensitivity and love to others.

    When a young person naively makes an error and offends someone in a racial way, it is a great teaching moment. We all can learn. We all can become more sensitive.

  • TJ Eagle Mountain, UT
    March 30, 2011 9:24 a.m.

    The sky is falling! the sky is falling!
    There is some truth about racism in many of these comments. Both traditional discrimination and reverse discrimination which can be just as bad as the first. The biggest problem is that most of these comments have little or nothing to do with the event at Alta.
    What should have happened: The offended should have spoken with the Principal and had the other boy called in. The situation could have been explained and the apologies and acceptance therof could have been offered. The offender could then have been educated by the Principal and warned that further behavior could result in discipline. END of story!

    Instead we have Jessie and Al coming to town. A little over-reaction? Ya Think!

  • TexasMom Flower Mound, TX
    March 30, 2011 9:32 a.m.

    This is a bad situation in many ways.

    The kid was wrong to wear a white "hood" like that. Anyone arguing it's not wrong is naive or racist.

    That said, what scares me the most is how a stupid incident like this can ruin someone's (or several people's) lives.

    I was a good kid (even called "goodie-two shoes" at times) and yet I look back at some of the things I did and know that if my children were to do those things now day they would probably be arrested or at least sent to alternative schooling or something. (Firecrackers, shooting the BB Gun in the back yard and local woods, etc.)

    Kids are going to do things wrong, like the kid at Alta. They should be corrected and punished ACCORDINGLY so they learn their lesson and not just to be to be punitive. Some people act like they would like the actual KKK to come and use their expertise to hang this kid up in a tree just for inappropriately (and wrongly) dressing like one of them.

  • Belching Cow Sandy, UT
    March 30, 2011 9:41 a.m.

    @Hugo Stiglitz
    So you live in a bubble? LOL!

  • Midwest Mom Soldiers Grove, WI
    March 30, 2011 9:54 a.m.

    Over 100 years ago, the federal government determined that the Klan was a "terrorist organization." Over time, immigrants, other racial minorities, Catholics, Jews and even labor groups became targets of the Klan.

    What would the reaction been, in that pep rally, on that day, if it had been an Asian or Middle Eastern student, donning a head scarf, running around the gym, pointing at the students?

    The Ku Klux Klan is still a terrorist organization. The fact that very few people at the Alta school see this "prank" as a serious issue is proof of the underlying racism of that community. I'm sure that most of the students at that school know the history of the persecution against Mormon pioneers. If the same children don't know enough about the history of racial injustice, and that it is an ongoing problem, it is because it has not been important enough for their parents and their community to teach it to them.

    Forget about being politically correct. Let's try just being morally accountable.

  • mecr Bountiful, UT
    March 30, 2011 10:06 a.m.

    So, nobody is aware that the principal and assistant are on paid leave not because what the student did but because 1) they didn't do a thing and 2)there were other racial incidents?

    Is people reading with some level of understanding????

  • BYU#1 California, CA
    March 30, 2011 10:28 a.m.

    Much ado about nothing. Let's fight racism where racism exists. This had nothing to do with racism. I didn't know that Utah was overcome by PC (Politically Correct) types.

  • hardware Erda, Ut
    March 30, 2011 11:02 a.m.

    Way overblown by the media but also, we need to not be so sensitive all the time. The media loves these stories and actually the administrators should have been prepared to take care of the problem themselves without the medias interference. Sick of journalists trying to make a name for themselves and those who tip off stupid stories and cry "The sky is falling."

  • John Harrison Sandy, UT
    March 30, 2011 11:14 a.m.

    Several points:

    1. Setting up a Black vs White assembly (yes I know those are the school colors) shows poor judgment. The potential for both misunderstanding and outright racism are too high.

    2. Why aren't the reporters "reporting" on this story doing any investigation? They seem to be simply repeating what the district tell them. Here are some questions for them to look at: Is there tape of the incident? Did the student with the pillowcase dress in black-face for Halloween? Did his friends? What is the "Rawhide" group that they belong to?

    3. Anybody who doesn't think there is a problem at Alta should look at the comments on the blog that Larz Cozby set up. The stream of hate, vulgarity, and racism on display by purported Alta students is shocking. Everyone who has children at Alta should take a look and have a serious discussion with their kids.

  • comchris Sandy, UT
    March 30, 2011 11:16 a.m.

    Racism is wrong and should not be tolerated. But give me a break. People choose to be offended. It is a chosen response. If we're going to go into every high school and start throwing everyone out who has carelessly done something that offended another then we would solve the problem of classroom size in our schools. If it was intentional then deal with it appropriately. None of us is perfect. We all say or do things that others could take offense to, whether intentional or not. What we need is more tolerance and to give each other the benefit of the doubt.

  • Conservative Cedar City, UT
    March 30, 2011 11:18 a.m.

    to BYU#1 | 10:28.
    I can understand why many do not view this as a racist situation.

    A teenager doing something goofy. But the symbolism he used, whether deliberate or not, carried a racist message to some.

    Having been born in Mississippi and raised in the South, I can assure you a white pillow cover worn over the head is a very real symbol of extreme racism in the South.

    We are far removed geographically and historically from the South here in Utah. But racism is definitely here among us, and in the past history of the Utah culture.

    So it isn't "much ado about nothing". The investigation associated with the principal and vice will determine the relative seriousness of the Alta situation(s).

  • The Utah Republican Alpine, UT
    March 30, 2011 11:24 a.m.

    When a white child wears a klan hood and gives a nazi salute to a brown or black child at school, the school has a responsibility to help the white child and his/her parents understand the meaning of the attire and action.

    Meaning is a combination of the intent of the person communicating and the understanding of the person receiving the communication - within the context of the situation and setting.

    The principal and vice-principal neglected their duty as leaders of the school.

  • ohioan Draper, UT
    March 30, 2011 12:35 p.m.

    Why not invite the two young men to sit down with a counseler at school and go over the issue? Have the counseler explain why the boy with the pillowcase needs to think more about what he is doing and how things may look to others, even if no harm meant. The boy can explain what his actions were and what he did. The other young man can explain how this appeared to him and why it may have been upsetting with him. The more they can talk, the more they can see that they are very much alike in many ways. Teenagers with teenager problems. Grades, school, acne, etc.. By bringing all the other things into this, we are forgetting these are two teenage boys and they can probably get along if we just let them. There clearly is a disagreement over what happened and only one boy knows what really happened.

  • Hoops Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    March 30, 2011 12:38 p.m.

    I listened to an interview with the mother of the boy accused of the racist act, and to be honest, I believe her account of what happened. She was not defensive, and in fact expressed great remorse that she had not done a good enough job of educating her children about things that can be interpreted as racist. However, this was a pep rally in which senior students were assigned black, juniors were assigned white, and the sophomores were assigned red (black, red, and white are the school colors). Many students were dressed almost entirely in their assigned color. Many students with sweatshirts pulled their hoods up over their heads to try to achieve a "black out" or "white out". And this boy grabbed a pillow case and put it over his head. The "nazi" salute was actually him jumping around pumping his arm up and down like you would expect at a pep rally.

    Also, from her account, her son was sent home for the remainder of that day, and suspended for an additional full day because the administration explained to her that his actions could be interpreted as racist. She did not fight the suspension. Continued . . .

  • Anonymous Infinity American Fork, UT
    March 30, 2011 12:48 p.m.

    It looks like Hoops Fan 12:30 pm) put it correctly. How can we get to the point of calling this act racist? It's obsurd. And to compound the situation by suspending the Principal and Vice Principal by the action of the School Board? All this did, along with the snap judgement and over reaction of the local media, and everyone else weighing in on it without the facts is just irresonsible. And making the entire studentbody of Alta High School somehow become part of this and have to interview everyone about it? Chill out and get back to reality. This state is not racist. According to black activists, by virtue of being a white person, you are automatically racist. That is how far afield from reality we have come.

  • Hoops Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    March 30, 2011 12:59 p.m.

    Part 2: Instead, she agreed that some consequences would be appropriate for what occurred, even if it was not intentional. One point that she made was particularly compelling. Basically, she said that her son is so NOT racist that it never occurred to him how his actions might be interpreted. He apparently has a very diverse group of friends, but never refers to them as a "black friend" and just doesn't think of them in that context. Isn't that what we're striving for as a society??

    That doesn't mean there should be ignorance about our history, but causing offense out of ignorance is much better than doing it intentionally, in my opinion. It seems to me that the former is what occurred here.

    Having said that, I was deeply disturbed and appalled by the comments left on the student's blog about the incident. Racist or not, the majority of those comments reflect very poorly on the character of the students who are posting, and if there really are that many foul-mouthed punks at Alta, I would agree that they do have a problem there.

  • John C. C. Payson, UT
    March 30, 2011 1:15 p.m.

    With so many witnesses, how can there still be a question about the boy's behavior. What else did he do besides don a pillowcase and run around? Did he single out any non-whites for derision? Did he make any Nazi salutes or say anything racist? It should be obvious all the witness what he actually did. Deciding why he did it and how strictly he should be punished is another matter.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    March 30, 2011 1:28 p.m.

    My guess is that Cosby kid (no pun intended) has an axe to grind. If you choose to be offended than you can be offended for anything. Finding racism at what amounts to a pep rally, where there actually is none, says alot about the kid who was offended. I think that is he is the most racist of all. It would be interesting to see just how big the chip on his shoulder actually is.

    The kids were wearing the school colors, white, black, and red. They weren't up there burning crosses or hanging anyone. They weren't making racist comments or insults. Was the wearing of a pillow case on his head stupid? Maybe. Was it wrong? No.

    If we truely want to live in a color blind society and treat all as equals, then we need to look at ourselves and decide if we are going to let a school assembly offend us.

  • MormonDem Provo, UT
    March 30, 2011 2:05 p.m.

    It's really disheartening to hear members of the overwhelmingly white majority to tell people to not be so offended. That's very easy to say from within the middle of the giant, white crowd.

    But when you are the minority it is a different story. Mormons, of all people, should understand this.

    If you're a member of the majority telling someone in the minority to "not be so PC," you can be pretty sure that you don't really understand the situation.

    In fact, this situation is the direct result of a whole generation of coddled white kids hearing their parents dismiss even the most commonsense call for civility and respect as "political correctness."

    Would it be so hard to err on the side of respect? Could anything bad come of that?

  • oniel Sandy, Utah
    March 30, 2011 2:19 p.m.

    Racism on any level is not appropriate. That being said, Superintendent Doty's public spanking of two fine long term public servants was both inappropriate and wrong. The lack of experience by Mr. Doty is evident. In his effort to give the appearance that he doesn't support any form of racism he leads the public to believe, through his public actions against the principals at Alta High, these two administrators support racism which does not reflect the truth at all. Doty touts himself as the "Great Communicator," but his actions of throwing his own public servants under to bus to protect his personal image is tiresome to both the community and other district employees.

  • nehimomma Parsons, KS
    March 30, 2011 2:22 p.m.

    When you escape the "whiteness" of Utah you start to truly understand how bad it still is.

    I'm from Utah...very much white. And I used to think that most racism was very much gone. Now I live in the midwest...where the white folk still call the African American Folk...colored...to there face.

    Schools in the south are still being ordered to desegregate...cause they are still trying to send all the African American kids to one school...and the white kids to another. Schools in the South still have White proms, Black proms...ect.

    Utah needs to wake up and realize that ignorance is not an excuse. He is old enough to realize he was using poor poor judgment....period.

    If my child's school allowed such nonsense to go on...I'd pull her out in a heart beat. Most in Utah are not willing to stand up to racism...by just believing it doesn't still exist.

  • MenaceToSociety Draper, UT
    March 30, 2011 5:54 p.m.

    Do the people who say this is an overreaction also think racism is OK? That would be my guess. And if they do think racism is OK, I'm guessing they would be against descrimination if it were targeted at them and theirs. Again, pure selfishness and a lack of empathy for others.

  • Jaun Caridad Primavera Absolute Truth, USA
    March 30, 2011 6:13 p.m.

    It's sweet that you all have decided that this boy "chose" to be offended by a symbol of an organization that terrorized and killed thousands of his race. These comments are just a symptom of the privilege you're viewing the situation with, which is unfortunate.

    Further, it's unfortunate that this is viewed as a "PC" issue. Any portrayal of the KKK, done in ignorance or not, invokes the hate and terror that organization spreads. Mr. Cosby has every right to be offended.

  • 3bugz South Jordan, UT
    March 30, 2011 7:13 p.m.

    A student being threatened with a noose on the football bus while being taunted by racial slurs, nazi salutes in the lunch room while even more racial slurs are being thrown out, white power group on campus.

    This is not just ignorace, "a joke" gone wrong, a misinformed student, political correctness, a student who "chose" to be offended--this is undeniable blatant racism.

    I am totally sickened by the comments on this message board, by those who choose to see it anything but that!

  • Hoops Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    March 30, 2011 8:23 p.m.

    @Menace,

    I'm one who said that I believe the mother's account of what happened with her son. And I absolutely, unequivocally do not believe racism is okay. But if we're going to talk about racism, shouldn't we also be disciplining all of the senior students who were dressed in black, including those who wore black sweatshirts and pulled them up over their heads and were shouting "Black Power?" If not, why not? I believe it's because everyone realizes that those students were simply caught up in the pep rally, and were thinking about their school colors, not race.

    Is this a good learning opportunity? Absolutely! For the whole student body, and especially for these boys involved. But does it warrant crucifying a kid who admittedly didn't exercise a lot of wisdom, but also wasn't even alive when the KKK was most active in our country? By most accounts, he didn't intend anything by his actions other than a rowdy display of class spirit and has repeatedly attempted to apologize. His mother has also apologized for not teaching him about that part of our country's history.

  • Former Brighton Student Murray, Utah
    March 30, 2011 9:53 p.m.

    Is the Assistant Principle Mr. Montague the former teacher at Brighton High School? If so, I am confident he in no way knew about or condoned this racist behavior. Mr. Montague at Brighton was the American Problems teacher (many years ago...not telling how old I am!) who taught us all about the evils of hatred and racism. The things I learned in his class still have an effect on me today and the way I chose to raise my children. He class was very advanced for the time and he was a life changing teacher.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    March 30, 2011 10:04 p.m.

    Possible solution: Have school uniforms. The students wear them to class and all school sponsored events. They can look pretty good and a lot of students take some pride in wearing their uniforms. No one takes offense for a real or imagined clothing insult. No crazy "T" shirts with crude and vulgar messages on them. No questions about immodest dressing. And, students wouldn't have to spend lots of money for a new wardrobe each year. I saw it in England and there were no problems associated with it. It has also been done successfully in lots of private and public schools in the USA. There are some real benefits. What are the negatives?

  • AH Orem, UT
    March 31, 2011 9:53 a.m.

    I'm a minority and consider myself an observant person because I've always been aware of my surroundings. I don't consider this post a valid recognition of racist bullying. The guy who was wearing the white costume, in my view, may have been taunting the OP, however, unlikely due to racism, and more so because he was showing off to his friends.

    If this was the only experience the OP had, he has no case other than preconceived notions he created in his own mind. I know what it's like to be excluded and looked down upon because of my race, so I sympathize with how he felt, but I believe his conclusion is convoluted.

    The biggest problem with this post is how drenched it is with political correctness. He used how he FELT to "make a case" against the school and it's officials, rather than by the facts. As a society, we are a melting pot of many races, and that's wonderful, but what isn't wonderful is how people seem to misunderstand one another, and how the underdogs (minorities) can get their revenge to an unnecessary dispute.

  • AH Orem, UT
    March 31, 2011 10:34 a.m.

    One more thing, I dont agree with the actions the kid in white was portraying, I really do believe he was just showing off to his friends. This age group is bound by immature thoughts and actions, as long as theres no violence and abuse, it should be corrected and pardoned.

    Kids in the past used to pretend to use gang signs in my high school, not because they were in a gang, but because they were influenced by mainstream media and MTV. Did that reflect their gang status? Absolutely not. Did it reflect their immaturity? Most definitelyAnd this never lead to anything more than immature playing around with their friends.

    Im aware that other high schools in the United States exist with real gangs, but it did not exist in my high school, so honestly, it was never an issue.

  • Worried Dad Lehi, UT
    March 31, 2011 10:48 a.m.

    When I went to Alta the school colors were Silver, Black and Crimson. If people would have just left the school colors what they were we might not have this problem. Who would have cared if someone was in a silver outfit and yelling "Silver Power". The Ding Dongs who changed the school colors should have left well enough alone.

  • Justin.D. provo, ut
    March 31, 2011 1:02 p.m.

    There was no racism intended by the students actions and that should be obvious given the circumstances. He did nothing to tie his attire to the KKK or any of the other things that have been said according to friends and witnesses. I'm sorry this gentleman was offended but I don't think the other kid did anything wrong unless he somehow tied what he did to something racist. Just putting on a pillowcase should not get someone branded as KKK. That is stupid.

    Now, go read the comments on this person's blog if you want to see the real problem. You will see it is not limited to a single race, nor is the hate limited by gender, appearance, sexual orientation or religion - now that stuff is offensive!

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    March 31, 2011 3:51 p.m.

    "just pulling a hood on" and chanting White Power.... that is a bit more than some 9 year old playing casper the ghost. If this chap didn't know the significance to doing the Hitler salute, chanting white power, and donning a white hood represents, then both the schools and his parents have done a real poor job of educating this kid, and those around him that equally don't "get it".

    Are people or more specifically youth in Utah really that clueless? The accidental display ignorance, if that is what it was, clearly displays how isolated Utah really has become.

  • Justin.D. provo, ut
    March 31, 2011 4:20 p.m.

    UtahBlueDevil, I haven't read that anyone else corroborates Larz's claims of a Hitler-style salute (just putting your hands in the air is not enough) or any of the other claims in Larz's blog about racially oriented discrimination. So removing those from the equation let us look at what we have.

    The school has assigned colors to the grades (white for Juniors). An assembly is then held where students from the different grades espouse their pride in their color/grade by chanting and wearing those colors. One junior puts on a sheet and pillowcase of his color (again white) and people suddenly lose all situational context.

    Now, are we so sensitive that putting on a sheet and pillowcase under these circumstances automatically depicts us as emulating or depicting the KKK and subjects us to repercussions as if that was our intention all along regardless of our true intentions. Good heavens, what about children who dress up in sheets for Halloween, do we look at them and scream "KKK!" because that is all they could possibly be dressing like that for?

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    April 2, 2011 7:59 p.m.

    Justin - I would agree with you except for this line from the piece....

    "The investigation pertains to "serious incidents" that have taken place at the school over the past year that were uncovered recently"

    and then the continuing story today that this was not an isolated incident. I know no one wants to admit this stuff goes on in our schools, that our kids don't need to deal with adult issues. But unfortunately our kids are a reflection of the attitudes around them and those they are allowed to see in the media.

    The fact that the police and others looking into this have found a pattern of activity lends credibility to the accuser here. I am all for giving people the benefit of doubt... but where there is smoke, quit often there is fire.

    And there really is no alternative interpretation of a cross burning. Sure the kid down the block dressed in a sheet could be just being a ghost for halloween, but you add a burning cross to the picture, salute or not, most can figure out what the intent was.

    Why would anyone make excuses for this really confuses me.

  • Justin.D. provo, ut
    April 3, 2011 12:25 a.m.

    UtahBlueDevil, if there are serious incidents that have been uncovered then we need to deal with those, no question. I'm strictly talking about the incident at the assembly with the sheet and pillowcase. I don't know if that correlates to any cross-burnings or other forms of intimidation and racism or not. If the investigation finds that there is in fact a link and that the intentions of the student in the pillowcase were to go beyond the context of just that assembly than that changes things considerably. If there is no connection, and it is just a kid in a pillowcase, then I stand by my previous comments.