Brookline HS addresses student use of racial slurs on social media

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BROOKLINE, Mass. – Snapchat videos containing racial slurs have caused outrage and concern for students at Brookline High School and others living in the community.

Students told Boston 25 News they’re outraged, but not surprised, after the discovery of two videos where several young men, most of them white and some of them Brookline HS students, repeatedly use a slur to target other students of color.

“No one should be able to get away with this kind of behavior,” student Griffy Estima said.

In a written statement, the superintendent said “community support” will be in place at the school tomorrow and it will be a chance for students and administrators to address these types of videos and behavior that he called hate-filled and unacceptable.

READ THE FULL STATEMENT BELOW

Students and parents told Boston 25 News they do not believe enough is being done.

“They need to do better. They need to do better. They need to have conversations. They need to explain to kids what’s okay and what’s not okay,” student Natasha Browne said.

The district says it learned of one video last week, prompting an investigation that ended with disciplinary action for those involved.

After the second racist video surfaced Wednesday, it’s now launched another investigation with even more possible consequences.

African-American students said the videos demonstrate a systematic culture of racism in the student body.

“There’s no use for that word ever. I’m an African-American student and I would never use that word,” Estima said.

At least one of the students featured in the video is a graduate of Brookline High School. Boston 25 News reached out to Brookline police to see if officers were investigating but did not receive a response.

Dear Families,

We write to make you aware of two deeply disturbing videos recently made by former and current Brookline High School students. On Wednesday of last week, the first racist video was brought to the attention of members of the BHS faculty and administration. Today, BHS learned of a second video created by a different student that uses the same racist language. We want to make clear that on both a personal and professional level, we are disgusted and deeply disturbed that any member of the BHS community would make such vile, hate-filled videos.

While it is hard to fathom the intent of such videos; their impact is clear and concerning. They degrade, dehumanize, and diminish our community. More importantly, they make many students feel unsafe and unsure of their standing in the BHS community. We want to be clear ­ these types of videos and behavior are unacceptable and have no place in our community.

As soon as the high school became aware of the first video, the BHS administration immediately launched an investigation and provided support for the student targeted in the video. This initial investigation has been completed, the individuals involved identified, and BHS is following through with appropriate disciplinary consequences. The team at BHS has now begun an investigation into the second video and will follow through with appropriate consequences upon completion of this investigation. We are engaged in the work required to support the students who were personally targeted.

Our team at BHS is currently planning community supports to put in place for students tomorrow. Through these steps, we will ensure opportunities for students to share their perspectives on the incidents, our response to the videos, and our ongoing work to strengthen the BHS school culture. We believe that our students as learners and leaders will help us become the school community everyone deserves. Sincerely,

Anthony Meyer, Headmaster

Andrew Bott, superintendent

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