The Grizzly Growl

In the Face of Racism

A Look at How Copper Hills Deals with Hate

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Students who have lost their voice in the face of racism are accepted at Copper Hills.

Students who have lost their voice in the face of racism are accepted at Copper Hills.

Shane Carpenter

Shane Carpenter

Students who have lost their voice in the face of racism are accepted at Copper Hills.

Christina Tran, Managing Editor

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Weber and Wood Cross High Schools went viral across the country for one similar thing: racism. Five female students from Weber High were seen in a video saying “n*****”. This video caught the attention of the media and even celebrities, including Trey Songz. At Woods Cross High School, students were seen cheering on the Wildcats at a football game, the crowd repeated, “build that wall,” while having a Trump cutout in the crowd. Both videos were posted on Twitter and reached a large audience, and many agitated people contacted the schools, parents, and the student themselves. Seeing all these events happen so close to home begs the question: What would happen if this came to Copper Hills?

Some students may not recall the event, but in 2015, Copper Hills cheerleaders dressed up as Pocahontas for the homecoming parade. That caused a huge media uproar as people saw it as cultural misappropriation. “The nation came at us. I was on MTV news over this issue,” Principal Todd Quarnberg said, “Did I handle it well? I don’t know.” Quarnberg handled the situation the only way he knew how, as he had never been put in a situation of that magnitude with the media and with Copper Hills before. Racism isn’t new to these halls. It’s something that our principal sees every day with different levels of severity. “Sometimes you’ll hear students say things without thinking about it,” Quarnberg explained.

Quarnberg may not be certain of the steps to take when it comes to racism, but he handles it with a kind but also strict heart. ”We have no tolerance. Zero tolerance for racism,” He said. When an act of racism does occur at our school and it reaches administration, there are two ways to handle it, sit the student down and give them a punishment or educate the student on what’s right and wrong. “We have suspended students, we’ve called home,” Quarnberg said. “We do have a full-time police officer here… and has he charged people [with a crime]? The answer is yes, directed by the principal and administration.”  

Racism and rights sometimes become intertwined, but Quarnberg makes it clear that he won’t blur that line. There has been controversy about people kneeling or not standing during the pledge. “It’s your right, as a citizen, to choose to stand or to kneel.” He may not always agree with actions of a student, but he will protect them.

As principal of our school, it’s Mr. Quarnberg’s job to make sure his students feel safe and welcome. He may not always know what’s right, but he will always take the steps that he believes will benefit the students. However, a principal can’t do it all. It’s up to us, as a school to come together, and fight against racism. We’re a diverse student body, and everyone has the right to come to school and learn comfortably. This is a problem where we need to unify and look beyond skin color. We’re all human and we all deserve to be treated fairly.

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In the Face of Racism