News

Monte Vista reeling after video of student using racial slur goes viral

School officials decry incident; video views in the millions

Monte Vista High School was cast into the national spotlight this week after a video showing a female student use a racial slur in sign language went viral -- the most recent in an unfortunate trend of racist incidents that have targeted African Americans, according to administrators at the Danville school.

While using Omegle -- a social media site where users can video chat with strangers -- the teen girl, who is white, can be seen calling the African American male she was chatting with the N-word in American sign language, doing so several times throughout the video.

The male -- who is apparently not a Monte Vista student himself and does not know sign language -- repeatedly asked the girl what she was saying, but she cut the video off without verbally telling him.

He later posted footage of their split-screen Omegle conversation on social media. The video has since reached more than 2.5 million views on Twitter and has been featured on most major Bay Area news publications.

The girl was subsequently identified as a Monte Vista student.

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School district officials have acknowledged the incident and local connection, but said they could not confirm publicly whether the student was disciplined.

In a letter sent out to Monte Vista parents and community members on Wednesday, principal Kevin Ahern said that while his school and staff work to create an inclusive and tolerant space, these racist incidents continue to arise, and that one racial group in particular is more often than not the target.

"While we condemn all acts of racism on our campus, I am being intentionally specific with you about this most recent incident because when these incidents occur, they most frequently victimize African American students," Ahern said. "The need is clear for a fundamental shift in mentality for a portion of our population and I pledge to lead this campus in making that shift."

Earlier in December, Ahern had alerted the community of "several racist incidents where students of color have experienced harassment from other students" that have plagued the school.

While not going into specifics on those incidents, in an email Ahern said the behavior is "completely unacceptable" and will not be tolerated by the school or district, further encouraging students to report such incidents to a teacher, administrator or through the school's anonymous timeline if they witness or are subjected to racist behavior.

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To combat racist happenings, Ahern says that the school embraces programs like Breaking Down the Walls, Fresh Start and Rising Black Scholars, and plans to support African American students by partnering with experts, such as the San Ramon Valley Unified School District Equity Team, to find optimal ways to work with students and combat bigotry.

"This problem cannot be solved today. It may not be solved tomorrow or even next week, but it will not be tolerated," he said. "We will talk about race and racism honestly and openly. Our desire is that every member of the Monte Vista community, from teachers to custodians to volunteers to administrators, will speak up when they hear a racial slur being used or a racist joke being told."

Ahern added that in cases such as these there are severe consequences for racist perpetrators involved.

According to the California School Dashboard, Monte Vista is predominantly white, with Caucasian students populating 59.1% of the school, followed by Asian students who account for 20.5% of the population and then Hispanic students who populate 8.7% of the school. Out of the 2,448 students who populate Monte Vista, only 14 (0.6%) identify as African American.

Reciting a quote that he heard about the impact racism has on himself and his school community, Ahern said: "A school climate that encourages inclusion and promotes tolerance does not guarantee that bias incidents won't happen. Instead, it creates an atmosphere in which these acts are less likely to gain momentum and more likely to be quickly and widely denounced."

Editor's note: DanvilleSanRamon.com is not identifying the young people nor posting a direct link to the video because those involved are believed to be minors.

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Monte Vista reeling after video of student using racial slur goes viral

School officials decry incident; video views in the millions

by /

Uploaded: Fri, Dec 20, 2019, 1:16 pm
Updated: Sun, Dec 22, 2019, 12:27 pm

Monte Vista High School was cast into the national spotlight this week after a video showing a female student use a racial slur in sign language went viral -- the most recent in an unfortunate trend of racist incidents that have targeted African Americans, according to administrators at the Danville school.

While using Omegle -- a social media site where users can video chat with strangers -- the teen girl, who is white, can be seen calling the African American male she was chatting with the N-word in American sign language, doing so several times throughout the video.

The male -- who is apparently not a Monte Vista student himself and does not know sign language -- repeatedly asked the girl what she was saying, but she cut the video off without verbally telling him.

He later posted footage of their split-screen Omegle conversation on social media. The video has since reached more than 2.5 million views on Twitter and has been featured on most major Bay Area news publications.

The girl was subsequently identified as a Monte Vista student.

School district officials have acknowledged the incident and local connection, but said they could not confirm publicly whether the student was disciplined.

In a letter sent out to Monte Vista parents and community members on Wednesday, principal Kevin Ahern said that while his school and staff work to create an inclusive and tolerant space, these racist incidents continue to arise, and that one racial group in particular is more often than not the target.

"While we condemn all acts of racism on our campus, I am being intentionally specific with you about this most recent incident because when these incidents occur, they most frequently victimize African American students," Ahern said. "The need is clear for a fundamental shift in mentality for a portion of our population and I pledge to lead this campus in making that shift."

Earlier in December, Ahern had alerted the community of "several racist incidents where students of color have experienced harassment from other students" that have plagued the school.

While not going into specifics on those incidents, in an email Ahern said the behavior is "completely unacceptable" and will not be tolerated by the school or district, further encouraging students to report such incidents to a teacher, administrator or through the school's anonymous timeline if they witness or are subjected to racist behavior.

To combat racist happenings, Ahern says that the school embraces programs like Breaking Down the Walls, Fresh Start and Rising Black Scholars, and plans to support African American students by partnering with experts, such as the San Ramon Valley Unified School District Equity Team, to find optimal ways to work with students and combat bigotry.

"This problem cannot be solved today. It may not be solved tomorrow or even next week, but it will not be tolerated," he said. "We will talk about race and racism honestly and openly. Our desire is that every member of the Monte Vista community, from teachers to custodians to volunteers to administrators, will speak up when they hear a racial slur being used or a racist joke being told."

Ahern added that in cases such as these there are severe consequences for racist perpetrators involved.

According to the California School Dashboard, Monte Vista is predominantly white, with Caucasian students populating 59.1% of the school, followed by Asian students who account for 20.5% of the population and then Hispanic students who populate 8.7% of the school. Out of the 2,448 students who populate Monte Vista, only 14 (0.6%) identify as African American.

Reciting a quote that he heard about the impact racism has on himself and his school community, Ahern said: "A school climate that encourages inclusion and promotes tolerance does not guarantee that bias incidents won't happen. Instead, it creates an atmosphere in which these acts are less likely to gain momentum and more likely to be quickly and widely denounced."

Editor's note: DanvilleSanRamon.com is not identifying the young people nor posting a direct link to the video because those involved are believed to be minors.

Comments

HJ
Monte Vista High School
on Dec 20, 2019 at 6:48 pm
HJ, Monte Vista High School
on Dec 20, 2019 at 6:48 pm
Like this comment

The article is incorrect when it states that the girl did not say the n word. She says it out at the very end. I have watched the video.


Real Guy
Blackhawk
on Dec 21, 2019 at 1:55 pm
Real Guy, Blackhawk
on Dec 21, 2019 at 1:55 pm
22 people like this

So, a girl from MV is in a chat room with an adult stranger and "signs" him a bad word. This is absolutely wrong. The guy, who is a Youtuber, whatever that is, promotes the incident. This was done at her home, not at school. And now MVHS is getting called out for being racist. My kid has lots of friends at MVHS and none are racist. Typical media BS and the district covering their hind ends. What a joke!


Real Guy's Friend
Alamo
on Dec 21, 2019 at 2:29 pm
Real Guy's Friend, Alamo
on Dec 21, 2019 at 2:29 pm
13 people like this

Yes! Thank you Real Guy! I too am upset that the media would somehow try to promote the idea that a spoiled, sheltered child at my extremely wealthy, 65% caucasian school in a largely white town that has almost no public transit and public housing could somehow end up doing something racist. How rude and pure BS!


Real Guy's Cousin
another community
on Dec 22, 2019 at 5:27 pm
Real Guy's Cousin, another community
on Dec 22, 2019 at 5:27 pm
8 people like this

Yes, how could this community, made up of people fleeing neighborhoods that have "colored" people moving in, be racist? They take their Christian faith seriously and teach their children to love one another, even immigrants. Surely you don't think they check their white privilege at the door?


Randall
Alamo
on Dec 22, 2019 at 7:57 pm
Randall, Alamo
on Dec 22, 2019 at 7:57 pm
19 people like this

Have to agree with Real Guy. This is not a MV issue. She just goes to school there. She made a poor decision on her own time.


Kristine
San Ramon
on Dec 23, 2019 at 6:43 am
Kristine, San Ramon
on Dec 23, 2019 at 6:43 am
5 people like this

I agree with Real Guy's comments. And I believe it still "starts at the home"!!! Kids see and here more than one might think no matter what the age!


Amazey
Walnut Creek
on Dec 23, 2019 at 7:13 am
Amazey, Walnut Creek
on Dec 23, 2019 at 7:13 am
1 person likes this

So how does a slur word get into sign language and how. Do people know that is what the sign means? I find this amazing! Is it taught in ASL school?!


Neighbor
Danville
on Dec 23, 2019 at 7:18 am
Neighbor, Danville
on Dec 23, 2019 at 7:18 am
6 people like this

Unfortunately some people quickly jump on media without really knowing the facts.
MVHS was never called “racist”.
Racist words/ behavior might have occurred.
This does not reflect on all students.
Maybe parents need to reflect on themselves and what they might on their own children!


Marie
Danville
on Dec 23, 2019 at 8:04 am
Marie, Danville
on Dec 23, 2019 at 8:04 am
9 people like this

1. Nobody should say any words that make someone else feel bad, and if they find out that they did, they should apologize.

2. Another story, another exaggeration. The school has not been called racist, the writer is trying to imply that and the reader is assuming that by the details.

3. We are becoming too politically correct and forgetting to teach our children to be strong. There was a day when the N-word’s meaning was just a color, in medical books it is still the meaning (before anyone goes crazy over that comment, I understand our history, the only way to become better and stronger is to never let history repeat itself, but changing the meaning of the word does not help) and in other languages, it still means a color. Just the other day I heard someone on TV say “that word is racist now” for another group of people. We are making people soft and angry by changing or exaggerating the meaning of words.

We need to teach children how to be strong and confident. We need to teach children to ignore bad things, bad words, and negativity. We need to teach children not to become so angry when somebody has a different viewpoint. We need to teach children to be more accepting.

SRVUSD thinks they’re doing a good job with implementing new policies or by punishing a child that may or may not have understood the ramifications of what he or she is saying. With all the new rules they are creating, they are just making it worse; they are forgetting about the majority while only trying to help the minority. This story is a perfect example.


Former MVHS student
Danville
on Dec 23, 2019 at 9:41 am
Former MVHS student, Danville
on Dec 23, 2019 at 9:41 am
6 people like this

Although this is horrible. It did not happen on school campus and should be handled away from the school. [Removed because it contained uncomfirmed information]


Kjgamble
Registered user
San Ramon
on Dec 24, 2019 at 3:38 pm
Kjgamble, San Ramon
Registered user
on Dec 24, 2019 at 3:38 pm
5 people like this

Did I just read nasty (racist) commentary that is addressing someone’ else’s nasty (racist) commentary? Good lord.


EdAdmin
Registered user
Danville
on Dec 28, 2019 at 4:01 pm
EdAdmin, Danville
Registered user
on Dec 28, 2019 at 4:01 pm
5 people like this

I'm surprised so many people here don't realize WHY this is a school issue. Please share with your children that if they do anything online, such as what this young lady decided to do, California anti-bullying laws cover off-campus conduct encompassing any electronic act where the creation or transmission originated on or off the school site. This is why this young lady is facing consequences for her actions from the school district.


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