SPOKANE, Wash — The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a racist video made by a Mead High School student that was posted on social media.
In the video, titled "How to Redneck," the teen talks about killing Black people while pretending to shoot a military-style rifle and using racial slurs. The video was originally posted on Snapchat and it spread to other platforms from there.
KREM has chosen not to show the video due to its racist and violent message.
Multiple parents reached out to KREM about the video and their concerns. A Black family told KREM they were considering changing schools due to rampant racism in the school.
"If they handle this as it's just him doing a parody and being joking and having fun, there's gonna be a big problem," said Anthony, a parent of a Mead High School junior. "I'm gonna have a big problem with that."
He has experienced racism his entire life because he is Black in a predominantly white area. Anthony was not surprised to see the racist video, but he is concerned about how school officials are handling it, he said.
"The video was disturbing, the reaction from the school is disheartening," he added. "If that video is not alarming to them to get a statement out, and to reassure families that we are doing something about that, you let the whole weekend go by, it's not acceptable to me."
Mead High School Principal Jeff Naslund said he’s been made aware of the video and that it's “disturbing on multiple levels.”
“As with all student safety issues, we take them very seriously, work with proper authorities, and will do everything we can to ensure students feel safe and a sense of belonging—it’s our living mission and vision,” Naslund said in a statement. “We thank all of those who reported this over the weekend. We ask our community to 'see something; say something' and they sure did.”
"Somebody in the room had sense enough to speak up and speak out and that's the only reason this video was made," Anthony said. "He shared it with the wrong friend that had a conscience."
Incoming sophomore Ellie Mallert recorded the video when she saw her former classmate post it on Snapchat.
"First I was like. 'Will this get me in trouble?' But I can't stay quiet about it," she said.
Naslund did not say whether the district is independently investigating the incident.
Corporal Mark Gregory with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office said the department is investigating the video. He said the video was filmed at a family member’s home several states away from Washington
According to Gregory, the teen's family is cooperating with the investigation and allowed investigators to search the teen’s room and did not find any weapons. Gregory said the teen does not have access to weapons.
Gregory said the teen told investigators the video was meant to be a joke. He said the teen has not been in trouble with law enforcement before.
NAACP President Kurtis Robinson also responded to the video in a statement:
"We are deeply concerned about not only the mindset, spiritual and mental health of this young man, but also the reality of a culture that believes this kind of behavior on any level is OK and even more OK to use on social media platforms," he wrote. "This is absolutely about the culture of white supremacy and how this situation paints a snapshot of what has been historically permeating the hearts and minds of some of our Caucasian young people. For our people of color, the climate of micro-aggressions, historic racial bulling, and Caucasian cultural superiority ideology has been more than obvious in Eastern Washington. Coupled with the tendency to say he's just a kid being a kid or he's just being silly is the very act of co-signing it. This has allowed these systemic issues to continue to perpetuate or even gain more footing. And although we are huge proponents for restorative accountability, accountability in this must happen and mus be very visible!"
A previous version of this story said the video was filmed several hours away from Spokane. The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office clarified the video was filmed several states away from Washington.