Parents in Iowa are suing a school over a video that shows a white student pretending to execute another student wearing blackface

Parents in Iowa are suing a school over a video that shows a white student pretending to execute another student wearing blackface
Someone waves a Black Lives Matter flag.Stanton Sharpe/SOPA Images/Getty Images
  • Parents in Iowa are suing their child's high school over a video posted on TikTok.
  • The lawsuit said the video showed two white students staging a pretend "hate crime."

Parents in Bettendorf, Iowa, are suing their child's school over a video shared on social media that shows two white students, one in blackface, depicting a pretend "hate crime," according a lawsuit filed January 18.

The video was first posted to TikTok in January 2020 by students who attend Pleasant Valley High School, the lawsuit said. The parents' child, who is Black, also attends the school.

According to the lawsuit, the video shows one of the white students wearing blackface while the other white student pretends to strike him as background music repeats racial slurs. The student then pretends to shoot the student in blackface "execution-style," the lawsuit said.

KWQC, which obtained the video but declined to air or post it, confirmed it contained that depiction.

The lawsuit said the video also shows the students lip-syncing and dancing, as well as one of the students laughing and giving a thumbs up to the camera after pretending to shoot the other. It's unclear when the video was made or why.


Students complained about the video to school officials shortly after it was posted, but parents were not informed of its existence, according to the lawsuit. The video was posted online again nearly two years later, in December 2021, after which school officials sent an email informing parents and calling it "racist" and "abhorrent," the lawsuit said.

The parents said that by failing to inform them of the video's existence when it first surfaced, the school prevented them from "being able to parent" and denied them the opportunity to protect their child from the "harms, trauma, and emotional distress" caused by the video.

The lawsuit also said the school has failed to maintain a safe learning environment for its students by not taking any disciplinary measures against the students who made the video.

The family is seeking unspecified damages. They did not respond to Insider's request for comment.

The Pleasant Valley Community School District, the board of education, and the superintendent and principal of Pleasant Valley High School are named as defendants. None responded to Insider's requests for comment.


Superintendent Brian Strusz told Local 4 News on Wednesday: "We are aware of the lawsuit, but cannot comment on pending litigation."