A portmanteau of 'twist' and 'jerk', twerking is a sexually suggestive dance style that involves thrusting the hips, often while doing a handstand or crouching. The trend is popular on the internet with stars like Miley Cyrus posting photos and video of themselves twerking to massive fan response.
The students received two-day suspensions for sexual harassment, and several parents filed appeals and were granted disciplinary hearings with the school. Parents went on to complain to San Diego Unified School District governing board that the punishments were too harsh and could hurt the students' college prospects.
But the board said the state Education Code bars them from overturning the suspensions given out by administrators.
Parents are outraged that some students have been banned from prom and commencement over the video. "“The seniors involved are on senior review and have to ask for their prom and graduation back in front of a panel,” one teenager told NBC 7.
One parent said the school should have used this as a "teaching moment" to show the kids that when they record video of themselves, they never know where it will end up.
The ACLU has reportedly written a letter to the school's principal, saying the suspensions "twist and trivialize" sexual harassment policies.
Board member Scott Barnett disagreed with his colleagues and wrote a memo to reporters saying there was "poor judgement" on both sides, reports the Los Angeles Times. Barnett agreed that suspension for alleged sexual harassment could be damaging to students' college admission hopes.
"I, on occasion hear language and music and see behavior by teenagers that I find very offensive and even shocking," Barnett said. "I do not like it but it's a reflection of our times."