School Principal Filmed Saying ‘I Just Don’t Like The Black Kids’, And He Still Has A Job
A vice principal at Scandinavian Middle School in Fresno California is on paid administrative leave after being recorded on a student’s smartphone as he made the statement, “I just don’t like the black kids”. How would you feel as a parent sending your child to a school where one of the (hopefully soon-to-be former) administrators felt comfortable saying something like that to a group of children?
Via Raw Story, Vice Principal Joseph Defillipo‘s moment that will live in infamy came after the students asked him who at the school he didn’t like. Some of the students in the video thought they themselves might be the object of dislike, but after prompted with the question, Defillipo responded that it was just the black kids he disliked–more than 10% of the school’s population, by the way. The student soon uploaded the video to YouTube, and pretty soon the technological grapevine was buzzing as students throughout the school watched the footage.
Parents of students who attend the middle school are upset, including those of the student who filmed the incident, who brought the video to administrators’ attention. I doubt the administration were unaware of a video being watched by the entire student body, but I’m glad these parents came forward anyway, since it’s a lot harder to ignore something there’s been an official complaint about compared to just a meme running through the student body. According to the official statement from the school district:
“The interaction between the Scandinavian student and our employee has been brought to our attention and we are conducting an investigation. Fresno Unified takes this matter very seriously and we will take any necessary actions pending the results. During our investigation, and as a matter of practice, the employee is on paid administrative leave.”
It’s a good thing that the district is going through due process here, but this isn’t something where they can just slap on a band-aid of “a week of sensitivity training” or something similar. It’s hard to imagine that a vice principal who just doesn’t like a significant percentage of the student body is going to be an equitable arbiter when it comes to managing disputes between students or handing out discipline. It’s also hard to imagine that a person willing to openly express a racist sentiment like that to a group of students could be a paragon of good judgment in other school-related matters.
The students and parents at Scandinavian deserve better, and the ‘just a joke’ defense isn’t going to cut it, despite the fact that KGO-TV, who originally covered the story, tried that tactic out with Latricia Medley, a parent at the school whom they interviewed. “What if he was making a joke?” the reporter asked cautiously. “That’s not a joke,” responded Medley. “That’s not a funny joke.” And I couldn’t agree more. It’s time to stop treating racism, ironic or otherwise, as just a little foible. We’ll have to wait to find out what the school district’s response will be, but hopefully they’ll take this incident just as seriously as it deserves.