Racist videos and social media posts surface at area schools
The death of George Floyd has sparked discussions all across the country on how to deal with racism, and one area of concern in the Hudson Valley is in schools.
Disturbing videos and social media posts have surfaced recently on various sites with racists messages and themes at several different area schools.
- A racist and sexist Snapchat was posted allegedly by a football player at Iona Prep High School in New Rochelle.
- Racially explicit videos have been circulated among students at Walter Panas High School in Cortland Manor.
- Racist and sexists posts targeting about 45 teens in the Somers school district was discovered on Instagram last week.
- A TikTok video involving several students from Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua posted in February has resurfaced.
In each case, students are now coming forward to speak out about their classmates behavior, and many say while school officials do take disciplinary action, not enough is being done to address issues of racism. "We are trying to start conversations and if they don't want to listen or learn about our stories and how we live and how we are raised and the things we go through on a daily basis it’s going to be hard to have change," says Jordan Dunbar, Iona Prep graduating senior.
In some cases, school officials said they couldn't comment except to say disciplinary action is being taken. Investigations are underway and administrators at Iona Prep and in Chappaqua say they are taking steps to address racial justice.
Marc McLean, President of the NAACP New Rochelle chapter, says schools need to do a better job educating students about different cultures. "One month of black history, one month of Spanish history…that's not enough. We have to incorporate the history of all people into our general history courses"
McLean says all the blame can’t be put on schools. Parents also need to take responsibility and hold kids accountable for their actions and language. "It's about having a clear standard, so that kids will come up to that standard and we have to begin to hold ourselves accountable as adults in terms of the language that our kids are engaging in."
He admits this is not always easy when kids hear certain language used in music, movies and other pop culture.
"It's sort of unfair, I can see how white kids can be confused. Especially the N word. I used to work in the high school in New Rochelle, and I would challenge the young black kids. Why are you using this word?"