Administration Responds to George Floyd Reenactment Incident


Benjamin Kutler

Opperman and Aranda sent out an email this Wednesday in regards to the incident.

In an email written to Westside High School on Wednesday morning, Principal Jay Opperman and Director of Student Services Robert Aranda notified students, staff, and parents of a disturbing incident recently discovered by the administration.

A picture shows a Westside High student, inside the school, kneeling on another student’s neck,” Opperman and Aranda stated in the email. “All have indicated they were willing participants and no one was hurt. From our discussions with these students, their intention was to reenact the George Floyd event after seeing something online.”  

Opperman and Aranda said in the email that the behavior, regardless of intentions, will not be tolerated.

“They made a very poor choice and their actions were unacceptable,” the email stated.

According to the email, administrators acted as soon as they were made aware of the situation.

“The administrative team at Westside High School and District leaders took immediate action when this was brought to [their] attention, including notifying Omaha Police,” the email stated.

In an interview with Director of Communications and Engagement Brandi Paul, Paul said an investigation is taking place involving the students who participated. Paul said she is unable to comment on the specific disciplinary actions that are being taken.

“There will be consequences and repercussions if it occurred on school grounds on our property and that it disrupted the school day,” Paul said. “Both of those things were a factor, [and] there will be repercussions as a result.”

Westside’s WE-Side Council is a committee that was created in 2020 to promote a sense of togetherness between people of different backgrounds within the school district. However, Paul said they will not directly have a part in the events surrounding this circumstance. 

“While the WE-Side council will not have any say on this particular incident, it’s planning for the future, how do we respond to [events like] this and prevent [them] from happening again,” Paul said.

Paul emphasized the importance of WE-Side in relation to incidents like this, and how the council is needed to continue closing the demographic gap that exists in our community. 

“I think what we’re dealing with today just reinforces that we still have done a lot of good things this year [with the WE-Side Council] but our work has just begun, and clearly we have a lot more work to do,” Paul said.

Westside’s Board of Education Resolution on Equity, signed by board members, recognizes that historically, conscious policies and practices specifically put people of color at a disadvantage and that Westside High School is a product of those past decisions and events. 

For any students, staff, or parents who would like to contact the district in regards to this event, they may email [email protected]