Jennifer Johnson, Forum News Service, Published February 25 2013
Officials say district may show Grand Forks students Fargo video about segregation caseGRAND FORKS - A school administrator here says officials are still developing ways to address the student body after three Red River High School students dressed in Ku Klux Klan garb at a hockey game Friday night
School officials said they won’t reveal what punishment the students received because of a federal law protecting the privacy of students’ records.
High School Principal Kristopher Arason said on Monday the consequences would be the same as at any school, ranging from “suspensions to (affecting) participation in extracurricular events to letters of apology.”
Three students identified as freshman briefly donned the costumes after the Roughriders’ state semifinal hockey game against Fargo Davies High School had started.
While many students wore white that evening for the “white out” hockey tradition, when fans wear white clothing and face paint, three students wore robes and hoods that resembled the costume of KKK members.
A UND student posted the photo to Twitter, causing an uproar after it started to spread to national websites such as the Huffington Post.
Several Grand Forks students voiced their disappointment with the attire while some felt it should be understood as a joke. Arason issued a statement Saturday, saying the behavior was not representative of the school or student body.
The school district is now looking into what grade level the civil rights movement and information about the KKK is being taught to students, according to a spokeswoman for the district.
“I think a vast majority of our students understand the symbolism of the costume and the feelings that it evokes,” Arason said. “It was not appropriate.”
Arason has been talking with Fargo Superintendent Jeffrey Schatz, the first principal of Davies High School, who has a school video about Ron Davies that may be used for students here. Davies High School was named in honor of Davies, a Fargo-based federal district judge whose 1957 rulings integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Ark.
“I think we would look to our social studies teachers to use it as part of our curriculum,” he said.
School officials say they don’t know what this means yet for future events, particularly “white out” activities. Arason said the overall reaction to the students, the power of social media and the speed at which information travels have already set an example.
“We’re looking at our possibilities,” he said. “I can’t say we’ve decided exactly how this will take place, but I think the education kids have received already about that is (about) making choices and how quickly things can happen.”