A private school in Los Angeles launched an investigation this week after a video showing a group of its students shouting explicit rap lyrics went viral and sparked an online petition. As of Wednesday morning, more than 400 people had signed a Change.org page demanding the Brentwood School address not only the behavior in the video but other, overarching issues that they say have led to a racist community, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The saga started Monday when a 26-second clip titled “Racism @ Brentwood School” was posted on YouTube by user Brentwood Students Against Racism. The recording opens with Brentwood’s motto — “Start Curious. Stay Curious. Go Anywhere.” — and then shows a brief Snapchat recording of a group of primarily white teens singing along to the A$AP Ferg song “Dump Dump.” The line they repeat is “I f----- your b---- n-----.”
The same day, a user with the same name started a Change.org petition called “Take action against the racist behavior of Brentwood students.” The page claims the students in question were partying on a boat and “decided to sing the N-word multiple times,” but school administrators haven’t punished them. This, the petition says, is indicative of the school climate.
“Brentwood claims to value diversity and acceptance, but their lack of action demonstrates otherwise. This is just another example of their white favoritism,” the petition reads. “Unless they begin implementing the values that they parade, it will be difficult for more students that identify as minority members to feel embraced as a part of the community.”
Among the people demanding action was retired Major League Baseball player Barry Bonds, who tweeted a link to the video Monday. Bonds’ daughter Aisha attends and plays basketball for Brentwood.
The school sent out a letter to parents vowing to “address the situation directly” and “respond seriously,” the Times reported. But an anonymous student told KNBC he didn’t think the students’ behavior broke any Brentwood rules, as they were off campus and not directing the comments at any specific person.
“It’s a small segment of the school that is making a big fuss over nothing,” the student told the website. “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 has two campuses: one for students up to grade six and one for students between grades seven and 12. At the K-6 campus, 26 percent of kids are of color, according to the Times. At the 7-12 school, 34 percent are.