Prior Lake High School, located in Savage, Minnesota, is receiving backlash after a Black student was the subject of racist videos, KSTP reports.
Nya Sigin, 14, said she and her sister, Elizabeth Sigin, witnessed a video of another student participating in racist behavior.
“I’m at a loss of words for what they’ve done,” Nya told KSTP. “It was just the most disgusting thing I’ve ever witnessed in my entire life.”
The video, shared on social media, encouraged Nya to end her own life in addition to the racist attacks.
“I was feeling confused. I didn’t really know what I had done to even deserve it,” the high school freshman said.
The Sigin sisters said the dispute originated when an unknown female recorded herself pouncing on a pillow with the N-word etched on it.
“She beat up the pillow while calling the pillow racial slurs, pretending as if the pillow was a Black person,” Elizabeth told KSTP.
After the video was shared by another classmate, Nya caught wind of the disturbing clip and communicated with the school’s counselor.
“I was hearing the words but yesterday I was in my counselor’s office, and I was really talking about it to them, and that’s when it all really hit me and how personal it was to me. That was just really hard because I just had this wave of emotions,” Nya said.
The sisters said that once their concerns about the video were made, more clips were produced targeting them. Nya added that she struggles with anxiety and depression. She attempted suicide in May, after which another video that included hateful outbursts mocking Nya's mental health issues began to circulate, KSTP reports.
“I finally have entered the part of my life where I feel like I'm finally overcoming that,” she said. “This whole entire situation happens and it just feels like a relapse.”
In the recorded clip, the female student can be heard saying, “You dark ass n****r.”
“You dark ass chocolate bar. Get the f**k out of here. No one likes n****rs. No one likes them. F**king kill yourself right this time. Do it f**cking right. Cut deep enough this time, or f**cking tie the rope higher. Like, what the f**k,” the unidentified student said.
On Nov. 10, Prior Lake sent out a letter to the student body’s parents addressing the hateful speech. Principal John Bezek told the school’s faculty and families that the school “does not tolerate racism or hate speech.”
Elizabeth told KSTP that she wants the racist bigotry to be addressed and for the student to be held accountable.
“I want to see them hold these people accountable,” she said. “It’s already hard enough being in such a predominantly white area as a Black family, and as Black women, it makes it so much harder for us. I really just want to see my school do something about this video and give real consequences to the students who are involved.”
Prior Lake’s superintendent, Dr. Teri Staloch, said that “an investigation into the students involved with the video is underway and we will take appropriate action. We remain focused on our priority of providing safe, supportive and inclusive learning environments for all students.”
Nya told Fox 9 that she did receive support from her peers, but is doubtful about the road ahead as a student at the predominantly white high school.
“I really can’t imagine what the next four years are going to look like, and it scares me. It really does scare me to have to go through this,” Nya said, according to Fox 9.
“No one should ever have to go through this, especially regarding the color of their skin,” she added.
According to the Reeves Law Group, someone can be prosecuted for encouraging others to commit suicide without physical interaction with the targeted person. Michelle Carter, then 23, received an early prison release after encouraging 18-year-old Conrad Roy to kill himself. She was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2017 and sentenced to 15 months at the Bristol County House of Corrections, BuzzFeed reports.
The Savage Police Department is investigating the matter, given Minnesota is a state that prohibits anyone to encourage someone to commit suicide.
“I don't know at this point what I can do to make sure that this stops for good because it's too much on my sister. It's too much on the family to just constantly be in these issues where somebody is harassing her and somebody is bullying her and she's only a freshman. She still has three more years of being at the school, and I want those three years to be good for her,” Elizabeth said.