RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD) --The Wake County school district says it places a priority on student safety, but some parents of Leesville Road Middle School students are calling on administrators to prove it with their actions after a racist video surfaced online that they claim is creating a hostile environment in the school.
In the video, apparently produced off of school property and now viral, three LRMS eighth-graders are seen making offensive and racist comments, using derogatory terms for blacks and Latinos while expressing hostility toward Arab and Jewish people as well.
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Cindy Kremer, the school principal, sent an automated phone message to parents last week saying the video violates student standards and that video's message would not be condoned in school. She said the students, who are new to WCPSS this school year, received appropriate disciplinary action.
However, two parents with children at LRMS went on the local radio talk show 'Connections' on WFXC/WFXK 104/103 FM during the weekend to say administrators didn't respond strongly enough.
"If the school has a zero tolerance on bullying, what does that really mean?" said John Waas, father of an LRMS eighth-grader. "In this case, it really doesn't mean anything."
Waas said the same boys seen in the video were suspended three weeks before it surfaced for bullying his daughter, who's half-Indian.
"Just three weeks ago, we had an incident where these same boys were throwing rocks not only at my daughter, but at another group of friends that she was with who are of a different race, different sexual orientation," Waas said.
WCPSS is not revealing how school leaders disciplined the students involved, but Waas said it equates to another slap on the wrist.
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Lisa Luten, school district spokesperson released the following statement to ABC11:
"We place a priority on providing every student with a safe and orderly learning environment. The principal always conducts a thoroughly (sic) investigation into all complaints of harassment and bullying. However, federal student privacy laws prohibit us from sharing results of a bullying investigation, and what disciplinary actions were taken."
Luten added, "Any disciplinary action provided to students is determined based on our policy to ensure that it is fair and equitable. To do otherwise would create an unjust and prejudicial environment for students."
Titi Ellis, whose son attends LRMS, also spoke out on the weekend radio show asking administrators to take a stronger stance. She said as it stands right now, her son feels the need to fend for himself.
"He immediately went into well, if this boy was to say something to him, mom, I need you to understand that I would have to respond," she said. "And I say that because that's the reaction of most of the kids who feel offended by what the kids have done. So we have this spark that the boys have started."
FULL PHONE MESSAGE FROM SCHOOL TO PARENTS
Leesville Road Middle School Parents:
This is Principal Cindy Kremer.
I am calling to share news with you about an incident that has affected our school today.
Tuesday night three of our students posted a music video on a music app that was shared with others. The students' video was a racist rant filled with racist imagery. Not long after the song was posted online, it was removed. Copies continued in circulation.
A parent brought the music video to the attention of school administrators this morning. We notified WCPSS Security and quickly began to investigate the incident. We identified the students involved and they have received appropriate disciplinary action.
The music video has resulted in a number of expressions of concern by students and parents in our school community. Here at Leesville Road Middle School, the expectation is that we adhere to high standards for all students. This video violates those standards and its messages will not be condoned in our school. Our school counseling staff will be available to talk with students about their concerns.
Please take a moment to talk with your students about the importance of living and working together in community. As a school team, we will discuss ways to help our students better understand the community in which we want to live and the responsibilities they have in working with social media.
We strive each day to create a positive learning environment and take every measure to ensure the safety of our students. Thank you for your continued support of our school.
I appreciate your support of Leesville Road Middle School.
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