Student Dons KKK Hood at School Assembly

by Joanna
Recently, a high school student in Utah was accused of racism after wearing a pillowcase over his head during a spirit assembly at Alta High School. The pillowcase looked similar to KKK hood, and when student Larz Cosby (who is described as “multi-ethnic”) demanded that it be removed, the hooded teen taunted the concerned Cosby and yelled “white power.” Cosby then removed the boys hood and threw it to the ground. He later blogged about the incident, and reported it to authorities at the school.

The school district was forced to respond to racism in its schools after the allegations surfaced. A pattern emerged that indicated a pervasive problem with racism at the school, and numerous “serious” racist incidents were uncovered. The principal and vice principal of the school have been suspended with pay while the problems are being investigated.
Prompted by a March 18 incident where a student wore a white pointed hood to a school spirit bowl that some felt resembled the infamous Ku Klux Klan symbol, the Canyons School District has uncovered evidence of other “serious incidents” that have occurred at the school over the past year, according to district spokeswoman Jennifer Toomer-Cook.

“Canyons School District condemns and prohibits all forms of racism and discrimination,” she said. “We are taking appropriate administrative action.”

The district has placed Mont Widerberg and Mark Montague, principal and vice principal of Alta High, respectively, on paid leave while the investigation of the incidents continues, a school employee said. 

The district’s office of civil rights is looking into the hood incident, and based on the evidence it finds will come up with a course of action that could potentially include discipline for the student who allegedly donned the hood.

“It was completely recognizable,” said Taylor Risk, a student at the school….

…Toomer-Cook, who would not reveal the nature of the other incidents the civil rights office has turned up, said she doesn’t know how long the investigation will last, but she expects the school to cooperate with the process.

In the meantime, the replacement principal will be Ray Jenson, a previous Alta teacher and coach who left the school to pursue a career in administration, according to a school employee. (SOURCE)The Department of Justice is now getting involved in the racist incident by assisting at a meeting hosted by the school district designed to discuss the problem of racism in the Canyons School District. Representatives from the DOJ will be on hand for several days to help the district address the issue of pervasive racism, which, of course, the good white folks of Sandy, Utah want to deny exists.

The parents of the hood wearing teen jumped in to defend their son. They claim that his cry of “white power” and his white hood had NOTHING to do with racism. Apparently, they believe that their son was simply chanting “white power” to support his high school class, which was assigned to wear white at the spirit assembly. I mean, damn, I understand supporting your child, but when your kid fucks up, you need to recognize it, apologize for it, and make him understand how and why his actions were so harmful.

If parents, teachers, and school authorities ignore the topic of racism in children and teens, it does nothing to resolve the problem. Pretending that the world is color blind because you wish it was that way is not the answer, but apparently, most white parents believe it is, and raise their children with the impression that it is perfectly acceptable to never challenge their own racism or the racism of others.

People need to be held accountable when racist incidents occur. People can not just continue to dismiss racist incidents as “jokes” or as “misunderstandings”. There need to be repercussions for behaving in a manner that is threatening to other people. Make no mistake, racist words and deeds ARE threatening, whether directly or more subtly, and need to be treated as such. I hope, for the sake of Larz Cosby and all of the rest of the nonwhite students of the Canyons School District, that this incident is taken seriously and all of the parties involved in allowing this atmosphere to exist are held accountable.