14-year-old Nya Sigin has received an outpour of love and support from social media this week after a video of a white classmate making racist remarks about her surfaced across the web.
A bully, who has been identified as Jaelyn Crooks of Prior Lake High School in the clip, made disparaging comments about Nya’s skin color and repeatedly used the N-word when referring to the young teen. Elsewhere in the startling video, Crooks further harassed Nya urging her to commit suicide.
“It was just the most disgusting thing I’ve ever witnessed in my entire life,” Nya told KSTP of the incident. “I was feeling confused. I didn’t really know what I had done to even deserve it. When I first saw the video, I hadn’t really processed everything that was going on.”
Nya continued, “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.”
Prior Lake High School has since launched an investigation into the video alongside the Savage Police Department.
During the interview, Nya’s sister, Elizabeth Sigin, said this wasn’t the first time that Crooks and her entourage of bullies have taunted her.
“It’s not an isolated incident. 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,” she said. “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.”
Nya confessed that back in May, the bullying became so unbearable that she attempted suicide.
“I finally have entered the part of my life where I feel Like I’m finally overcoming that,” she explained. “This whole entire situation happened and it just felt like a relapse. Talking about my suicide attempts is absolutely not OK. I don’t think they even understand the impact of this on me and my family, to even make these comments.”
Social justice activist Shaun King has stepped in to defend Nya and her family during this difficult time. A slew of supporters from social media who have been donating to a GoFundMe campaign that’s been created to help with her college tuition. Her family hopes that it will help her to stay encouraged amid the controversy. Since the time of this report, her page has amassed over $78,880 in donations. Nya said she was absolutely overwhelmed by the support.
“It’s just the most, like, immense feeling of love from everybody that showed their support for me and my family,” Nya added. “It’s just honestly like an unexplainable feeling. I couldn’t even express how thankful I am for everybody.”
Prior Lake’s superintendent, Dr. Teri Staloch, has released a statement about Crooks’ behavior.
“Our schools do not tolerate racism and hate speech. An investigation into the students involved with the video is underway and we will take appropriate action,” the statement read. “We remain focused on our priority of providing safe, supporting, and inclusive learning environments for all students.”