Like many of you I started to see the images on Wednesday on social media of Sturgis Brown High School kids with sledge-hammers standing on a car with “go back to the Rez” spray painted across the side. My first reaction – as with much of social media – was “Is this real? Is it current?”

Turns out it was. And on Friday the school issued an apology. The Meade County School Board voted unanimously to cancel all homecoming activities and continue to work with police to investigate the activities.

This happened on school property but was not an official activity, rather a long-gone homecoming tradition, common around the Midwest at least, where people would pay to pound cars, etc., as fundraisers or what have you.

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The reason this was so much worse is that the homecoming game was scheduled against Pine Ridge, which is a reservation school serving the Oglala Sioux Tribe. It’s racist activity pure and simple.

It’s a fundamental truth that high school students are generally stupid and some of this can be attributed to pure idiocy. And it’s important to point out, it’s a subset of the student population involved. This is not to condemn the entire school.

But the school district’s actions are commendable. It would be easy to separate out the offenders but allow everything else to go forward in the name of not punishing people who didn't participate.

What these officials did was send a strong message, that the racism that constantly bubbles below the surface in South Dakota is unacceptable, will not be tolerated and must be wildly and publicly condemned.

Taking this type of broad, unequivocal action sends the correct message. Frankly, it’s the kind of action that is not common in South Dakota. Maybe there’s hope for all of us.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Results Radio, Townsquare Media, its staff, contributors, affiliates or advertisers.


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