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Clarkston Community School District

From Superintendent Ryan: Student Social Media Incident

From Superintendent Ryan: Student Social Media Incident

Dear Clarkston Community Schools Families,

Late last night we were made aware of an offensive racial video that was posted by a Clarkston Junior High School student on TikTok and subsequently shared across other social media platforms. The behavior and language observed in this video were hurtful, deplorable, and not representative of our district's respect for all people. The Clarkston Community Schools administration takes this matter seriously and we immediately began investigating the Code of Conduct violations displayed in the video and appropriate action will be taken.

Let me be very clear. Bigotry, prejudice, and hate are not condoned in our school community. Clarkston Community Schools is committed to providing an inclusive and safe environment where all students are valued and respected. Likewise, we strive to educate students on issues related to diversity, equity, and cultural inclusion.

We regret the pain and anger that one student's actions have caused. As difficult as this situation is, it is an opportunity for us - the administration and Board of Education, faculty, students, and community of Clarkston - to stand up for the dignity and inclusion of all people.

I would like to applaud the individuals who saw and reported this social media post to district administration. We tell our students and staff "If you see something, say something." This incident serves as a reminder that any threatening or discriminatory conduct should be reported, even if it occurs outside of school or in an online setting.

This is also an important reminder to talk with your children about the seriousness of inappropriate social media behavior and the harm that can result. Posts made in poor judgment can reverberate well beyond the immediate here and now, and have damaging long-term repercussions. (As we know, nothing is ever really "erased" from the Internet.)

For information about how to talk to your children about issues of race, please read "Beyond the Golden Rule: A Parent's Guide to Preventing and Responding to Prejudice." Should you have questions about this incident or if your student would like to speak with someone about how the video made them feel, please reach out to your child's counselor, school social worker, or principal.


Shawn Ryan
Superintendent of Schools

About Clarkston Community Schools: Clarkston is a highly regarded school district with an enrollment of nearly 7,100 students. We have seven elementary schools (K-5), one middle school serving grades 6-7, one junior high for grades 8-9, and Clarkston High School, which serves students in grades 10-12. We also have an Early Childhood Center serving children ages 3-5, and an alternative high school/community education facility. Clarkston Community Schools students are well-prepared for a future that excites them, and believe that they can achieve their dreams. The mission of Clarkston Community Schools is to create a learning environment where students, staff, and families are challenged, healthy, engaged, safe, and supported.

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Media Contact: Mary Ellen Rowe, Marketing Director (248) 623-5460.