District promises action after Santa Clarita students post racist video on social media

Santa Clarita School District officials have vowed to take action after a video posted to social media shows students driving around a school parking lot and singing a song containing a racial slur.

Three Valencia high school students filmed themselves laughing and repeatedly singing the N-word into a microphone. The song’s lyrics included “I don’t like N—.”

Representatives from the Santa Clarita Chapter of the NAACP and the William S. Hart Union High School District addressed the video at a Tuesday press conference with other community leaders. District officials have not disclosed what type of discipline the students will face for being underage.

The video was recorded by a student who was driving through a parking lot in a car with two other students. She laughed and held a microphone to the driver as they sang the lyrics to the song.

“They then chose to share this hate speech by posting it on social media for thousands of people to see,” said Valerie Bradford, president of the Santa Clarita chapter of the NAACP. “Their actions of course spread like wildfire and African-American students on campus once again felt scared, alone and singled out.”

Antonia Esi, president of the Valencia High School Black Student Union, quoted civil rights activist Angela Davis as saying, “I don’t accept the things I can’t change anymore. I change the things that I cannot accept.

Esi added: “The act of violence against black people inflicted by these girls in these videos is one of the things that I cannot accept. Walking through the halls of Valencia High School and hearing the voices in this video ringing from phones in their mouths is an act of violence that we cannot accept either.

Supt. Mike Kuhlman condemned the flippant manner in which the lyrics were repeated in the video.

“Hart District will not tolerate this type of hate speech, and we have taken proactive steps to ensure our intent is to promote a fair, safe, and inclusive environment for all of our students,” Kuhlman said in a statement. written.

Kuhlman promised that the district has taken “strong and proactive steps to send the message that this kind of blatant racism” will not be tolerated.

The video is not the first instance where the Valencia high school has had to fight against racism. In 2008, the school district agreed to pay four students $300,000 to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

Students in the 2008 settlement claimed that the district allowed hatred and prejudice to persist in their school and that district officials ignored feedback from parents. While attending Valencia High School, students said they heard cries of ‘white power’ and ‘go back to Africa’ during lunchtime and saw swastikas, iron crosses and other racist symbols tagged on school property.

In the current case, district officials conducted interviews with students, parents and staff, according to Kuhlman, and also reached out to law enforcement officials about the video posted on social media. .

While the blatant racism displayed in the video was shocking, it came as no surprise to many in the community, said school district board member Cherise Moore.

“For many more to reach out and say their child wasn’t surprised by this video or it’s not uncommon for the word to be used in school, well, that’s telling. in many ways,” Moore said. “It helps me recognize that we have a lot of work to do as a board.”

Moore said she will present a list of recommendations to the district board of trustees to address racism and bias within the school district.

“We need ongoing training that allows us to look in depth at some of the racism issues that people are sometimes too uncomfortable with,” Moore said. “I also want students to understand the impacts of certain behaviors on groups of students.”

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