West Monroe students describe tense day following racist video

A person in the video can be heard using a racial epithet in reference to Black residents while making a comment about locking her car doors.
Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 2:25 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2022 at 6:53 PM CST
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WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE) - West Monroe High School students say a viral video sparked a tense day across campus Wednesday.

A person in the video can be heard using a racial epithet in reference to Black residents while making a comment about locking her car doors. The video was attributed to a West Monroe High School student and was widely shared over social media on Tuesday. It was reportedly made in a neighborhood not far from the school, though it’s unclear when.

“I texted her about it and I was like, ‘Did you say this?’ and she said it was made a year ago but it was never posted,” said WMHS senior Dorothy Armstrong. “But somehow, someway, someone got the video and posted it.”

A Ouachita Parish School Board member says the video triggered threats against the person in the video and the school.

KNOE was able to locate hundreds of online messages and comments critical of the person in the video. Many were angry. As a precaution, law enforcement had a greater presence at the school on Wednesday, though they gave no indication that anyone was going to follow through with any threat.

Ouachita Parish Schools Assistant Superintendent Todd Guice told KNOE that they are investigating the video. Despite rumors and online posts, Guice said there was no credible threat made at the school.

Regardless, the situation had students rattled.

“Just to know that that’s how she felt deep down, like, it did hurt a little bit. Yeah,” said student Dorothy Armstrong.

“It made me feel very uncomfortable having to walk the halls, knowing that someone feels that way and says things like that,” said student Meleah Williams.

“I could feel the tension from everybody,” said student Matthew Lebato. “I know how offended everybody felt because you screamed a derogatory term, I guess you could say. And also stereotyped saying, ‘lock your doors or whatever.’”

Several parents went up to the school to check out their children. Guice confirmed an uptick in checkouts.

You can read Guice’s full statement below.

“We are aware of the video that began circulating around social media last night. The school is investigating the incident and believe the video could be two years old. As you are aware, we are unable to discuss incidents involving students.

“We have had an uptick in checkouts in the noon hour. There has been no credible threat made at the school. OPSO and WMPD did provide extra manpower to the WMHS campus today out of an abundance of caution.

“Moving forward, we will be working with faculty and staff to determine the best course of action.”

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