NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Superintendent Dr. Laura Feijóo is threatening “the most severe action possible” after Talk of the Sound published a video containing despicable racist behavior by New Rochelle students.
A popular Facebook group in New Rochelle, Mom’s of New Rochelle, is more commonly known as a place to share recommendations for babysitters, promote school events and sell used furniture and clothing. Today, it lit up with controversy after one of the members posted a video filled with racist remarks created by clicking through Instagram photos and Tik Tok videos.
The video depicts brief videos, text messages and images where students — all those depicted appear to be white — mock or insult African-Americans in derogatory and racist terms.
According to group members, the video has been repeatedly posted to expose the bad behavior then removed by administrators.
One Mom’s of New Rochelle member says a complaint was filed with the City School District of New Rochelle.
City School District of New Rochelle officials did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
UPDATE: Superintendent Dr. Laura Feijóo has issued a statement. This story has been updated to reflect her statement.
“We are horrified to have learned about a vicious act of racism in the District perpetrated on social media, involving the vilest of ethnic slurs and invective,” said Superintendent Dr. Laura Feijóo.
“Videos of students, some of whom attend Albert Leonard Middle School, have been seen on platforms including Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and others using offensive racial slurs,” Feijóo said. “We have the names of some of the students and we are investigating this matter.”
Statement by Superintendent Dr. Laura Feijóo
We are horrified to have learned about a vicious act of racism in the District perpetrated on social media, involving the vilest of ethnic slurs and invective.
Videos of students, some of whom attend Albert Leonard Middle School, have been seen on platforms including Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and others using offensive racial slurs. We have the names of some of the students and we are investigating this matter.
This type of hurtful, destructive behavior is reprehensible and is certainly unacceptable anywhere in the City School District of New Rochelle. We are investigating this incident and will take the most severe action possible in response.
Every act of hatred and tolerance must be denounced in the strongest terms. This shameful incident compounds and brings closer to home the anger, pain, and frustration that we in New Rochelle, and communities around the world, are experiencing from the recent murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
In response to that horrific act, and the deep feelings it has stirred in New Rochelle, we are holding Healing Circles for middle and high school students all week, facilitated by social workers and teachers equipped to help students process these traumatic events.
I urge you to encourage your children to join the Healing Circles or to speak to a school counselor. Also, if you are experiencing any difficulty as a result of these incidents, please feel free to call our hotline (914) 336-7800.
New Rochelle is a wonderful community where we build on the strength of our diversity and we appreciate the many gifts contributed by residents of all backgrounds and ethnicities. We will not allow any incident of hate to dampen our spirits. We continue to stand together.
Dr. Laura Feijóo
Statement by ALMS Principal John Barnes
Dear ALMS Students,
I am writing with a very heavy heart and usually at this time of the school year we are working on our end of the year celebrations. I am not going to lie when I say that it is impossible to feel celebratory when I am seeing all the things that are happening in our nation and specifically right here in our ALMS community. We are so much better and so much more than the horrific things that I have seen, and that have also been made public recently. Yet, we are also clearly in desperate need to do better and more. We will be asking you to provide some feedback in the form of an open ended survey at the end of this message.
We as a school community will not tolerate acts of hate, racism, and any actions that compromise the safety or dignity of others. This includes social media posts and use, email communications, and how you are choosing to use your cell phones and your access to technology. We support and encourage student voices and encourage our students to serve as upstanders, to stand up for what is right. We do not support students using their influence to encourage violence or to intimidate, threaten, or harass others. We urge students to report any information they have (confidentially) that will help us to ensure the safety and welfare of our entire community.