The girls in the video are juniors and seniors at Utah's Weber High School, and three of them are on the cheerleading team, according to district spokesman Lane Findlay. "The video was then possibly uploaded into an app that plays it backwards, producing an entirely different sounding phrase".
"Right now the focus is on the investigation and trying to answer all the questions that have come up", Findlay said of the video, which has been widely discussed at school.
Although the video was not made at school, Findlay said they are taking the matter very seriously and "appropriate disciplinary action will be taken if the students involved are found to have violated the school's code of conduct".
Several students and parents took to social media to condemn the video.
The girls apparently said "serggin cuff", Findlay said, and then edited the video backwards so the racial slur emerged. A year after the video was made, one of the girls shared it on a social media platform as a private post.
"We also wish to remind everyone that these are kids, and sometimes kids do really stupid things without thinking", the school district said.
Jim Dabakis, a state senator, once said that the perpetuity of such crimes is due to Utah's ineffective actions, that the state does so little to fight them.
Administrators had their own concerns about the impact on students who would feel targeted by the shouts in the video that repeat a derogatory term referring to black Americans. "The girls we have spoken with have all been very apologetic for their actions". "Hatred only breeds more hatred", he continued. "Please be patient and reasonable as we deal with the situation".
While the video was apparently recorded during fall break, Weber High School's policies cites that students can not use offensive language. But no, one of the girls in the video brought it out a year later and posted it.
Others slammed them as "disgusting" and said "they knew what they were doing".
'Certainly, there are no excuses for this type of behavior, but they are still children in a sense and hopefully this will be a learning experience for them and others'.
He said that girls could face anything from counseling and being kicked off the cheerleading team to expulsion from school.