Content warning: This post describes explicit threats of violence and hate speech against the LGBTQ+ community.
Earlier this week, a video surfaced in local social media circles of a Prescott High School student’s Snapchat video. In this video, the student addresses the audience, saying that he thinks “all gays deserve to f***ing die” and goes on to describe his intentions to harm any transgender person he sees enter a restroom he feels they don’t belong in at the school. He specified “we are going to” beat them up, which many community members think implies he assumes support in his stance. He continued, saying, “They are going to get the s*** beat out of them, and they can’t do anything.”
Soon after, an apology video from the student also circulated local social media. Many speculate the apology was not genuine, and was simply damage control, as he clarifies that his comments do not represent him, his brothers, his parents or family, nor do they represent PHS, or any athletic teams he is on at the school. Prescott’s The Daily Courier responded with an article denouncing the hate speech of the student: Prescott High School student posts threatening video on social media.
Prescott High School also responded, on behalf of the school district:
The Prescott Unified School District (PUSD) respects and champions the diversity and life experiences of all community members. We promote a mission to provide a safe and supportive environment that fosters a comprehensive education for all students so that they may reach their full potential. Our Motto is “Every Child, Every Day.”
Over the weekend, a video shared on social media of a student making offensive remarks was brought to the attention of Prescott High School (PHS) and PUSD Administration. The post does not reflect the values of PHS or the PUSD community. This video was strongly concerning and saddening to us. It spurred response from across the community and even the country. We have spent our weekend responding to these concerns and working closely with students and families involved. When we say Every Child, Every Day, we mean it.
PUSD is committed to supporting the many different races, genders, religions, and sexual orientations throughout our schools and community. Every Child, Every Day means that when students show intolerance, we must work with them to not only hold them accountable, but also to provide opportunities for them to learn from mistakes and re-examine the importance of tolerance. This is a societal challenge, and our country is grappling with this. As teachers, neighbors and community members, we are committed to guide, educate, and promote love and acceptance.
Though we are not able to share details regarding disciplinary actions, we can assure you that we have responded swiftly and appropriately. We will not tolerate any threats to the welfare of anyone in our community. PUSD continues to be known for handling disciplinary situations seriously while keeping values of compassion and redirection in the forefront. We continue our commitment to protecting all students and staff in PUSD.
Greater Yavapai County Coalition (GYCC) is dedicated to protect and serve the LGBTQ+ Community and support under represented populations. We are deeply concerned about the recent video posted by Prescott High School Student. This was a direct and deliberate threat to the physical health and safety of LGBTQ+ students and faculty at PHS. We will be filing a complaint with the Prescott Police Department and letting them know of our concerns.
We appreciate your prompt response and commitment to supporting the many different races, genders, religions and sexual orientations represented in our schools and community. However, as a community that deals with violence and oppression on a daily basis, we do not agree that this can be passed off as a “Societal Challenge”.
This is a direct and specific problem with Prescott High School, The City of Prescott and the Prescott Community. We repeat that this was a clear threat and a very direct promise of violence against trans and LGBTQ+ students.
In the past, GYCC has worked with PCH to help start the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) and offered training and support to staff and administration. We acknowledge the hard work and progress made in the areas of social justice and inclusivity.
We would like to continue to be a part of the solution and are here to offer support, education, training and resources. We understand that during this time of crisis there are tremendous demands on the administration and staff. We would like to come along side and help in any way we can.
We would like to offer mentorship and training to support the existing GSA and partner with organizations such as The Launch Pad and One in Ten to help guide, educate and promote love and acceptance and tolerance.
We will make the following resources and trainings available free and in a format that allows Social Distancing and Safety.
- Mentorship and Training for GSA Students, Leaders and Staff Support
- Inclusivity and Sensitivity training for Staff and Administration by Zoom.
- Suicide Prevention and Intervention Training for Staff & Administration
- Social Justice and Restorative Justice Training for Staff/Administration
We understand that we are currently in a crisis situation and will provide information and support that is easily accessible, timely and free of charge. These include:
- Crisis Lines, Support Lines and Suicide Prevention Hot Lines
- Local Resource Lists for Teachers, Staff and Administration
- On-call help/response for crisis situations from GYCC & local Agencies trained in Inclusivity and LGBTQ+ issues.
Our staff at GYCC is available for questions, counseling and support at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will respond promptly by phone or email as needed. We hope we can work together with other resources in the community to help alleviate this issue and build a better future.
Molly Freibott, Director of Operations
John Duncan, Events Director
Sylvia Wauters, Social & Website Director
Pat Beidel, Community Resource Director
Teresa Landreth, Director of Trans Programming
Greater Yavapai County Coalition