A previously unreported video of a black Mountain Vista High School student punching a white student known for wearing Nazi garb has gone viral this week even though the incident happened in August, leaving the school system once again addressing a hate incident on campus.
The fight video is just the latest in a string of hate-based incidents happening inside the halls of Colorado schools.
“Incidents are up,” said Jeremy Shaver, associate regional director for the Colorado Anti-Defamation League. “As we’ve seen an increase of incidents in Colorado since 2015, the percentage in schools has also increased.”
Video of the fight at the Highlands Ranch school rocketed around social media this week after a Twitter user from Baltimore posted it to his feed. The Denver Post is not publishing the video because it depicts two juveniles, who since have been charged with crimes.
In the video, the white student, wearing a military green jacket, was doing a T-pose, a popular meme in gaming, but one that “some people say has been used by the KKK to represent a burning cross,” Lt. Lori Bronner, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, said. The black student confronted him, daring him to continue this pose, Bronner said.
Next, the two students were walking side by side in a courtyard area as dozens of others milled about. Then, the black student abruptly punched the white student in the face. After a few seconds, the white student got up, picked up a landscaping rock and threw it at the other student. He missed.
Police said the student who threw the punch chased down the freshman in the military jacket, kicking him as the student curled up on the ground. At some point in the incident, Bronner said, the white student called the black teen a racial slur. Security arrived soon after and broke up the fight.
Both students were arrested, Bronner said. The white student was charged with harassment, disorderly conduct and criminal attempt assault, while the other student was charged with assault, harassment and disorderly conduct. There were no charges of a hate crime, Bronner said.
The school said the white student was wearing a green jacket but that it did not sport Nazi insignias. Students from Mountain Vista said this student was known for wearing this green jacket complete with Nazi regalia. A review of the juvenile’s Instagram account shows multiples pictures of him wearing Nazi uniforms.
Paula Hans, spokeswoman for the Douglas County School District, said the school “communicated out to parents, and the incident was handled at the time.”
“Principal Michael Weaver told the parents that there was an altercation between two students,” Hans said. “The administration worked with the students and families directly involved as well as the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.”
The school would not say whether either student was suspended or expelled.
This is not the first hate-based incident at Mountain Vista High School — or in Colorado — in recent months.
In late September, racist graffiti was spray-painted on a gym wall at Mountain Vista. African-American football coaches said at the time that they believed it was directed at them.
At the Kent Denver School in Cherry Hills Village in early November, students found a swastika scrawled on bathroom stall.
That same week, students at Eaglecrest High School in Centennial found racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic graffiti in one of their bathrooms.
The Colorado Anti-Defamation League does not break down incidents by school, but overall antisemitic incidents in the state tripled between 2015 and 2017, Shaver said. There were 57 incident in 2017, up from 18 in 2015.
“Incidents in schools tend to be on the lower level, vandalism, swastikas drawn on school property and verbal or written harassment,” Shaver said.
In 2017, anti-Semitic incidents at K-12 schools nationwide increased to 269 from 130 in 2016, a 107 percent bump, according to a national audit by the Anti-Defamation League.
Updated Nov. 30, 2018 at 9:45 p.m. The following corrected information has been added to this article: This story has been updated to reflect that the school district said the white student was wearing a green jacket but that it did not sport Nazi insignias.