Deal reached in twerking video incident: SDUSD to clear records of 31 Scripps Ranch HS students

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego Unified School District will clear the records of the 31 students at Scripps Ranch High School who made a controversial "twerking" video that went viral.

The video first surfaced in March this year.

Initially, school officials banned the students from attending prom and graduation programs. The students were also given a two-day suspension and received a permanent sexual harassment charge on their student records.

The attorney for three of the students told 10News that the district agreed to wipe the punishment from the records. Students involved were also allowed to go to prom and graduate.

Four months ago, the infamous twerking video appeared on YouTube, resulting in the suspension of 31 students for sexual harassment violations.

Attorney Ruth Hargrove, also a professor at California Western School of Law, defended three of the students.

"They're happy, very happy. There's relief and gratitude," said Hargrove.

Sources told 10News new District Superintendent Cindy Marten spearheaded and approved the deal because of legal exposure for the school district and a belief that lessons had been learned by the students.

The video had been made by broadcast journalism students during school time and with school equipment.

Hargrove said her clients thought it was a sanctioned school project. She said they will now be able to apply to colleges without the black mark

"My clients are completely innocent and that's what the facts ultimately showed," said Hargrove.

Was a complete clearing of all records justified? 10News brought the question to a school district spokesperson.

"There are people who will say this settlement sends a message that there are virtually no consequences for actions like this. Is this the message?" asked 10News reporter Michael Chen.

District spokeswoman Linda Zintz responded, "The message is we came up with a mutual agreement based on what was in the best interests of the students and the district."

Hargrove said while some of the students should have faced discipline, the school should not have issued mass suspensions without due process.

While her clients are relieved, she said they fear retaliation from school employees who supported the original punishments.

Hargrove said one of the students recently got this response when she asked a teacher to write a college recommendation.

"She (the teacher) could no longer write a recommendation because she had a lawyer," said Hargrove.

Hargrove said the deal came just in time, as one student offered a scholarship would have had to disclose the suspension this week.

The school declined comment.

Sources told 10News the school district board supported the deal.

The district released the following statement:

"After further review, a mutual agreement has been reached that is in the best interest of the students and the district. The parents, students, school and district are ready to move beyond this incident and focus on the upcoming school year. The district cannot provide any further details since this is a student discipline issue and therefore confidential."

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