A video posted on social media caused a racial controversy at Assumption High School in Davenport, Iowa this week. In the reposted TikTok video, a boy can be seen kneeling on another boy’s neck in an alleged attempt to mimic the killing of George Floyd.
Tianna Williams, who posted the TikTok on Facebook, condemned the actions shown. In the caption of her post, she wrote, “This is so sad how they just think a man’s life being taken is a joke.”
She also identified two of the boys shown in the video as sophomores Keaton Thissen and Nick Boldt. In the two days since she posted it, the video has been shared more than 500 times. Of the nearly 400 comments, many Facebook users expressed rage at the incident and the lack of discipline given by the school.
Family, Students, & Community Enraged
“I was just shaking,” Williams told Local 4 News. “I was so mad about it.”
While the video was not explicitly linked to what is now called the “George Floyd Challenge,” it is similar to videos tagged for the challenge. In the controversial challenge, social media users recreated the murder of Floyd in videos spread across platforms.
One Assumption parent told News 8 that he kept his kids home from school the day after the video was posted. He did it as an act of solidarity and to send a message to the school that he wants the kids in the video to be held accountable.
About two months ago, alumni Claire Motto Steil began a petition addressed to the faculty and the school board. The petition demands the school to increase diversity, from modifying hiring practices to teaching anti-racism in the classroom.
Now, many are circulating the petition to incite change in light of the school’s recent controversy.
Steil commented on the school’s response to the video, writing, “For those looking for an action to take to show your disapproval with Assumption’s handling of these issues…Sign this to make your voice known that Assumption needs to take diversity seriously and take real action to make serious change.”
The school initially addressed the controversy in an email to parents. According to Local 4 News, the school claimed they were working with local authorities and had a team of people who monitor social media activity.
Assumption High School also released a statement through their Facebook page.
“As a Catholic institution, we are committed to ongoing efforts to educate in alignment with Gospel values and teaching,” the school stated. “True love of neighbor is consistently willing the good of another. We are working with the students directly involved in this situation along with our entire student body to promote healing, safety, compassion, mercy, and understanding.
However, the school did not identify whether or not the students in the video were disciplined. According to Williams and different news outlets, they received only a Saturday detention.