School officials in Cedar City investigate ‘offensive’ social media post that joked about rape

Cedar High School, Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 4, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Iron County School District officials say an “inappropriate and offensive” social media post that was circulated among Cedar High School students earlier this week was the work of a single student.

Cedar High School, Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 4, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

According to a report on Friday by The Salt Lake Tribune, the post included a photo of several male Cedar High students gathered in the school’s lunchroom, with a caption referring to Saturday’s date, April 24, which according to rumors had recently been designated as “National Rape Day” by a group of TikTok users. The post was originally shared via Snapchat on Monday,

“We’re coming. April 24th. BE ready. You can run. But you can’t hide ………” stated the caption above the photo on the post, according to The Tribune. The post reportedly was seen and shared by users across multiple social media platforms.

However, Fox13Now reported on Wednesday that the rumors surrounding “National Rape Day” appear to be unfounded, with TikTok officials reportedly claiming that the video in question is not on their platform. In an updated story posted Friday, Fox13 reiterated that no such video has been confirmed to exist on TikTok.

Cedar High School administrators had acknowledged the incident Tuesday on Twitter, saying they were “keenly aware” of the photo and were conducting an investigation.

On Thursday, Iron County School District officials posted a statement on the district’s Facebook account that included further details about the incident, along with the district’s response. Cedar High School later shared the same message via its Twitter account.

“Iron County School District officials as well as local law enforcement were made aware of an inappropriate and offensive student posting the same day it surfaced on social media,” the statement said.

During the ensuing investigation, authorities determined that a single student was responsible for posting the group photo in question, and that student had reportedly made the offending post without the knowledge or approval of those in the picture.

“Students in the photo were not posing for nor participating in the unfortunate and ill-conceived prank,” the statement noted.

The district’s statement went on to say that school officials have been working to ensure the safety of students.

“District and school officials have worked closely together to address concerns of the larger student body, especially female students, and the community to make sure that all students feel secure. As with any unsettling situation, students have access to counselors, specialists and administrators to help them resolve their concerns and address their needs.”

District officials haven’t said what disciplinary action the student responsible may face. Superintendent Shannon Dulaney told Cedar City News on Friday that she had no further comments about the incident beyond Thursday’s written statement.

The statement concluded by saying that district officials were planning to use the incident as an educational opportunity:

The district will use this as a teaching opportunity to help those directly involved, and the larger student community, understand what it means to be socially responsible, respectful and that harassment in any form is unacceptable.

Dulaney did say anyone who has been threatened, harassed or bullied, either in connection with this incident or otherwise, should immediately report it to school administrators or counselors.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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