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School board lets ‘twerking’ suspensions stand

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SAN DIEGO –The city school board Tuesday listened to angry parents of students who were punished for taking part in a racy dance video, but board members let the disciplinary measures stand.

After meeting for more than two hours in closed session, board President John Lee Evans released a statement backing the suspensions of more than 30 students at Scripps Ranch High School. Board members also chose not to remove the charge of sexual harassment placed in student records.

Screen Shot 2013-05-14 at 5.18.49 PM“It is not the purview of the board, according to the California Education Code, to overturn any suspensions, only expulsions,” Evans said in the statement. He also said that questions about the loss of senior privileges by students involved in the video had already been resolved at the school level.

The two-minute video received national attention after it was posted on the Internet.  It shows dozens of female students shaking and gyrating their hips — dance move known a “twerking.”

After the Scripps Ranch High principal saw the video, 33 students were immediately suspended for two days.  Seniors involved were told that they might not be able to attend graduation or the senior prom, but the principal has since said they will be able to attend those functions.

Parents who spoke before the board met in closed session pleaded with the board to overturn the suspensions and sexual harassment charges.

twerking“It has created devastating ramifications in our family,” one parent told the school board.

“My daughter has a 4.6 (grade point average) this quarter. It’s ridiculous. She’s never had any offenses,” said another.

Each parent had 3 minutes to address the school board.

Ruth Hargrove, attorney for one of the students, said many of the girls in the video had no idea they were breaking school rules.

“My client thought that she was helping with a school project,” said Hargrove.

Other parents defended their children’s motives.

“It’s my understanding the children were doing a clip for a dance that would go into a school video,” said one parent.

“They had no idea this video was being produced the way it came out, and they’re horrified and humiliated,” said another parent.

Parents argued that appearing in the video was not a crime and the charge of sexual harassment would ruin their children’s educational careers.

“Sexual harassment is an incredibly severe charge to have on one’s record and be following one to college,” argued Hargrove.

“Anybody who is looking at her college application is going to think she’s some stalker girl,” said one parent through tears.

Parents told the school board the students in video never got a chance to explain their actions.

“I’d like to see the kids actually get to explain what their intent was,” said one parent.

“This is so inappropriate. It’s ridiculous. I’m so disappointed for not following due process,” said another. “Look at them.  Look them in the eye and tell them they deserve a sexual harassment charge.”

Board members could not discuss the details of individual cases due to privacy laws, Evans said. There is an appeals process for each student to challenge information in his or her student record, and the parents and students had been informed of the processes and procedures, according to Evans.

Screen Shot 2013-05-14 at 5.19.14 PM


  • kzak

    Please, please, please stop showing that

    awful tweaking video—-we don't need to see

    it over and over again. You are just sensationalizing

    what those kids did. And they should be suspended,

    and their parents should expect them to be responsible

    for the terrible decisions they made. It's called learning

    the hard way.

    • Joe

      Really everyone? These kids did nothing more than shake their butts. That's what twerking apparently is. Just butt shaking to music. The fact that anyone even cares is sad. These kids did nothing wrong. Nothing.

  • Johnnybbaby

    Suspend them!! If they don't learn that their actions have consequences, then they will continue to do stuff like this.

    • David M.

      I'm not sure which is worse; the suspensions or the ridiculous and ignorant comments above.
      What these kids did was no worse than my high school cheerleaders did 30 years ago; to my knowledge there is no school policy regarding "shaking your butt to music." Zero tolerance has turned into a fiefdom ruled by school administrators who are so afraid offending public sensibilities they engage in overkill and crush creativity and individualism in the name of "order" and conformity. These kids were not told they were breaking any rules; they were just punished. Their lesson therefore consists only in the realization of the unfettered power of those in control to ruin their lives at the drop of a hat.

      • Johnnybbaby

        These are the same types of kids who will think it is okay to drink as a minor and go out and kill either themselves or someone else because they were never disciplined by their parents or the school.

        I am not saying that the Sexual Harassment part should be placed in their files, I just feel that they need to be punished somehow. It should be some BS community service that will be blown off anyway.

        • David M

          They are told not to drink and drive; they are not told not to dance. Your comment is like saying that someone caught rolling through a stop sign should have their license taken away because they must also think it's OK swerve through freeway traffic at high speed. Linking one to the other is simply inflammatory rhetoric, not informed and intelligent comment.

          • Michael

            It's High School. While I agree that they shouldn't be doing a sexual dance, it's high school. The Principal is going to possibly harm their future regarding college admissions for a you tube dance. I get that they're upset they tarnished the Scripps Ranch uniform but it's high school. Two Day suspension, okay, that's easy. The sexual harrasment on your record? That's stupid. Kids do dumb stuff but this is such a trivial issue it should in no way harm their ability to go to college. And TRUST me, you'll want them to go to college if they were easily talked into this…

  • jason

    is truly amazing how much these past can look past the fact that their children are showing themselves to be sluts…..does everybody forget this is high school what happened to the parenting off todayI work in the area of scripps Ranch 1 mile away from my high school and these parents are as dumb on TV as they are in real life…it's a shame that these parents make the good ones look bad because there are still good parents in this areagoes to show you rich neighborhoods don't have parenting the iPhones do the parenting

    • Joe

      Sluts? OMG. That is terrible. The kids showed themselves to be kids. That's all. And now these kids have "sexual harassment" on their records? When kids reject their parents ideals completely and rebel, this is why. All of you "old fogies" need to get a life! I'm 50 and apparently have more tolerance towards youthful exuberance than younger people. They dance upside-down and shake their butts and THAT'S sexual harassment? You people deserve to have misbehaved children.

      • Michael

        Kudos Joe. It is silly. Yes kids do dumb stuff and the twerking thing is a bit out of control, you tube twerking and you'll see MUCH worse. And then there's Miley Cyrus doing it. If you're okay wiht your kids listening to her(not your kids Joe) then, they may follow her lead… It's a stupid dance. Give the 2-day if you want but sexual harrassment? They were only harrasing themselves. Sheesh. OVERREACTION. Wait till these girls go to college. I remember my freshmen year, and those girls still graduated…

  • guest

    Ignorance is no defense for breaking the rules. This behavior is disgusting. And what's with the one parent bloating about her daughter's grades? Does she expect special treatment for that? Here's some special treatment. Your daughter is smarter and should have known better. Double her punishment. How do you like them apples? Idiots, all of you.

  • Jessica

    They deserve what they got !! If my kids were in a video like that i would ground them for life. I dont care about if its a new trend they need to learn to respect things that isnt theirs …

    • Michael

      Nice! That's how you handle it. This is a parenting issue not a jeopardize their academic future issue. Some stuff needs to remain in the home.

      • Johnnybbaby

        They are too stupid to have an academic future. Maybe a serious money making career at Deja Vu.

        • David M

          Nice, you jump right to the ad hominem attack. Maybe you forgot to read the story about the 4.6 GPA; that means getting high grades in college prep courses. That's not stupid Johnny.

  • mar

    If they say this isn't SO bad why are their faces blurred? Who's the dude? School rules are their for a reason and as far as I'm concerned they should be faced with the punishment the school hands out. PERIOD.

    • David M

      The faqes are blurred because TV networks and stations have written policies regarding identifying minors. Duh!

      • Johnnybbaby

        Maybe if they want to be treated as adults, they should have their faces shown. Might not want to hire them then!!

        • David M

          Pay attention and think. The TV station blurred their faces, not the kids, their parents, or the camerman.

  • Ross

    Holy Puritan era crap! Get over it people! These kids did nothing wrong… Welcome back 1950.. Elvis is dancing on TV. The Shame! Look over there.. It’s two boys Greco Roman wrestling in Spandex. That could be considered sexually suggestive. Suspend them!

  • David M

    The problem here is completely summed up by the School Board President; they didn't have the authority to reverse the suspensions or sexual harassment labels. It's a pity the lawyer hired by parents didn't know that before charging her clients for attending a multi-hour meeting that was NEVER going to result in anything other than "we can't do anything."
    The Board does have the authority to fire or reassign administrators. This is a political issue; not a legal one. Hire competent, thinking, rational administrators or we'll find another school board member in your place.

  • VCMom

    That is the most ridiculous overreaction to a dance I've ever seen. To label it "sexual harassment" is an insult to people who have actually suffered harassment, not to mention it's incredibly damaging to those kids. I am so disgusted with the passing of the buck in this story it's not even possible to adequately express.


    • Fred

      It's only a dance in a strip club.

      You must be a rich mom who does not care for anyone but herself. :(

      • David M

        There are thousands of successful professionals who go "clubbing" on any given night of the week in every big city in this country, many of whom dance exactly the same way Fred. Welcome to modern culture. And VC is correct, calling it harassment ignores 40 years of legal progress at the expense of real victims.

  • guest

    I have seen some "twerking" videos that are done with at least some class or an artistic attempt at making this dance move not look as vulgar as it actually is. Wetmilk whoever this person is failed terribly in his attempt! The school went way overboard in adding the sexual harassment charge to those girls. Wetmilk and/or the 3 fellas should be charged with sexual exploitation of minors!!! I think the suspensions are acceptable. These kids need to learn that there is a line that they crossed with this video and associating the school with it. These young girls also need to learn a little respect in themselves.

  • crebeccaap

    The sexual harassment charge is just too much.
    I’m sure these kids feel bad enough but why mess with their lives like that??

  • was-a-teen-once

    To the parent whose daughter is in the video & claims too her daughter has a 4.6 GPA. . .Here's a HUGE revelation. . .why didn't she and her friends get MORE clarification on exactly on the "who, where and what" about this video BEFORE all the students agreed to do it. I think that would verfiy SOME 'intelligence and deductive thinking' for a 4.6 GPA individual! C'mom MOM! quit protecting your daughter. she's going to make erros in her life that SHE needs to own up to and not always having you defend her with her GPA!

  • Beavis

    Classy kids and parents. They got what they deserved. It would also appear that obtaining a 4.6 GPA isn't as hard as it used to be.

  • A mom

    Sorry I agree with the chief of the school! I don’t care if they are high school students what type of example are they showing ?!?! They need to act like kids! Not be learning to strip, and shake there ass!!! It’s degrading, and upsetting for other girls in the school. Makes the girls look soooo slutty! Good job girls if that’s what you wanted. On the other hand as a parent I agree I wouldn’t want them getting a record but the simple fact is these kids need to learn morels and self respect! My daughter dances, but not anything like that!!! So shameful wow and even worse all other the net!!! Shocking and so sad.

  • Remember your youth

    OMG! If we let these kids get away with this, the next thing you know people will be saying that women have the right to vote! Oh wait…
    OMG! If we let these kids get away with this, the next thing you know people will want to give equal rights to everyone! Oh wait…
    OMG! If we let thse kids get away with this, the next thing you know someone will come along and make a movie about a city kid moving to a rural area where no one is allowed to dance! Oh wait…
    OMG! If we let these kids get away with this the world as we know it will end and then it won't matter that the school principal flexed his little used educational muscle and branded these kids as sexual harrassers…
    The punishment DOES NOT fit the crime. How about a Saturday class where those involved had to come to school and learn what sexual harrassment is (and is not – the principal should be made to attend also). How about community service where those kids have to put together a video that will benefit a charity in their community.
    It's dancing…it may not be what you would call dancing…but that's because you allowed yourself to get old and not remember all the crap you did when you were that age.

  • Raymond

    I agree with suspending them because there is nothing about this "dance" that is acceptable, but I still don't understand how this is considered sexual harassment? That charge seems a little loony!

  • menacide

    This is not sexual harrassment, but it definitely warrants a punishment. This "dance" is not appropriate for a school environment. In my opinion it is a "dance" that takes place at strip clubs. If you think it is fine for your kids to do this, then you must also be okay with then dancing on a pole in front of their peers as long as they keep their clothes on.

    The only thing missing from the video was the guys throwing a bunch of bills on the girl's butts. Then all the parents saying "oh my girl is a good girl" hahahaha. Yeah right….if she is willing to let men film her shaking her butt with other men posing around them then I'm sure she doesn't have a problem with doing other things…

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