Petition Calls on School to Investigate Racially Charged Video - NBC Southern California

Petition Calls on School to Investigate Racially Charged Video

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    Petition Calls on School to Investigate Racially Charged Video
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    A petition on the website, change.org, is urging officials at an upscale Brentwood private school to investigate a video of students dancing and singing to rap lyrics containing the N-word and sexual innuendo. (Published Tuesday, May 17, 2016.)

    A petition on the website, change.org, is urging officials at an upscale Brentwood private school to investigate a video of students dancing and singing to rap lyrics containing the N-word and sexual innuendo.

    Entitled, "Take action against the racist behavior of Brentwood students," the petition from a group calling itself BWS Students Against Racism, urges people to sign a petition against the students' behavior in the video.

    A letter went home to Brentwood School parents on Monday, saying school officials are taking the video seriously, were interviewing all students involved and they don't tolerate racism.

    The students made a short video of themselves singing along to the song "Dump Dump," by A$AP Ferg, which includes "incredibly racist and misogynistic" lyrics, the letter said.

    Former Major League Baseball player Barry Bonds, whose daughter attends the school, tweeted about the video.

    "I am sad that I had to see this at my daughter's school," he wrote, and included the hashtags#Racism #Fixit #Suspension.

    In a letter to parents, Dr. Mike Riera, the head of the school, said Brentwood School does not tolerate racism.

    "We rely on our core values as the foundation for decision making, even more so in complex and emotionally charged situations like this," he wrote.

    The school is an independent K-12 coed day school with two campuses. Its website says its students come from more than 90 different zip codes and come from 114 different schools. Some 15 percent of the families benefit from financial aid. The West Campus, Grades K-6, is made up of 26 percent students of color, the website said. The East Campus, Grades 7-12, is 34 percent students of color.

    One student, who declined to be identified, agreed that the use of the N-word was inappropriate but disagrees with the petition.

    He said that it's not the school's role to regulate students' behavior off campus. They violated no rules in the Brentwood handbook -- the students had no Brentwood attire and were not calling any person or student the N-word. The student said Brentwood is an "incredibly progressive, open, and tolerant campus."

    "It's a small segment of the school that is making a big fuss over nothing," the student said. "Some of the extreme activists on campus are calling singing along to a rap song a 'hate crime' or 'hate speech' but that is a load of hogwash.

    "Brentwood goes out of its way to create a comfortable and safe space for all of its students. The stink that these few individuals made is attention seeking behavior at its worst."

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