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Racist and Homophobic Online Posts and Videos Roil Whitney High School in Cerritos

The post obtained by HMG from the Whitney alumni.

 

BY BRIAN HEWS • June 5, 2020

Hews Media Group-Cerritos News has obtained  screenshots from a former student at Whitney High School located in Cerritos, California, that shows racist and homophobic rants, along with a video, posted online by a freshman who attends the high school.

The alumni also alleges that the behavior is not isolated to one student at the high school, indicating that alumni and current students shared screenshots and videos of other students harassing black students.

The revelation of the alleged racism comes at a time when the nation and the world are protesting the homicide death of George Floyd and rampant racism found in the United States in general.

The alumni said the screenshots showed students, “calling black students the N-word, and harassing them on Instagram asking if Black Lives do matter.”

On her post the student redacted the offending student’s names because they are minors.

“But I want this community to see how bad this is and that it’s happening RIGHT NOW.”

The screenshot and contents were a disturbing collection of racist right-wing talking point rants against African-Americans.

“Some of them f**ing deserve it and we have all profiled a black person before. We never hear about whites that are killed and attacked by cops, which actually happens more often.”

“They want to complain about slavery and all that sh**, other races face that here too. If they want to complain they can go back to where they came from.”

The Gretchen Whitney High Facebook page had several alumni collaborating the racist allegations and an apparent culture of racism at the award-winning high school

One former student wrote, “Whitney High School is a TOXIC environment, inhospitable for black people. I have not experienced racism, discrimination, and prejudice to the degree and volume as I have at Whitney and I probably never will.”

Yet another posted, “During my first day of orientation in September 2011, one of my peers jokingly said, “How can you tell if your hands are dirty?” She was referring to my blackness. I can still relive how I felt at that moment. I felt embarrassed, and I cried a bit. I was utterly astounded because that was my first interaction at Whitney High School. It did not stop there.”

Another posted, “Whitney High School is an INCREDIBLY racist and anti-black school and it has been like this for far too long. For the 6 years that I spent there, not a day went by where racism wasn’t apparent in either the faculty or students.Whitney was absolutely horrible and looking back I cannot say that I ever enjoyed my time there.”

The alumni produced another screenshot that showed one of the alumni reaching out to Whitney High Principal Dr. John Briquelet about the racist incident.

“These are messages sent by your student who is a freshman at Whitney. Is this the kind of student you want representing the school? As a recent Whitney alum I am well aware of the blatant racism that goes on at the school.”

“I demand that this student is reprimanded and is held accountable, as well as every student who continues to spread hate, violence, and racism.”

“You were all about empathy what about actively being anti-racist? Addressing the anti-blackness that is so prevalent in your school? Actively working to make your school safe and equitable? You need to do better and it starts with accountability.”

On June 1, Briquelet fired back an email at midnight,  “the hateful conduct you have illustrated is absolutely not what we want from anyone, let alone a Whitney student. I will begin looking into the matter first thing in the morning and will do what I can to address the behavior.”

He then seemed offended by the email, and attempted to deflect blame “for future reference I recommend not insulting people you know nothing about. Frankly, after repeatedly reading your email, I was attempted to not respond at all. You clearly do not know this, but I have done my level best to promote empathy, compassion, and equity at Whitney, and, believe it or not, things have actually started to improve. That is why the student behavior is even more painful to me.”

ABCUSD Superintendent Dr. Mary Sieu told HMG, “We’re aware of the incident at Whitney HS. There was an investigation right after these horrific posts were displayed. WHS has already taken appropriate action with the student.”

In 2017, a fire storm of controversy hit the school when HMG reported that three teachers conducted a simulated slavery ship enactment for their 8th grade class time.

The teachers sent an email entitled a “Unique Learning Experience” informing parents of an upcoming exercise that would expose students to the horrors of slavery. The lesson involved the teachers acting as “slave ship captains” and students as slaves.

The email read, “we will sternly tell them to line up outside the classroom, use masking tape to ‘tie’ their wrists together, make them lay on the ground inside the room shoulder to shoulder with each other (boys and girls are in separate rows), and then watch a clip from Roots.”

ABCUSD Superintendent Dr. Mary Sieu told HMG-CN, “The WHS 8th grade history lesson is an experiential exercise that was developed many years ago by TCI and designed to enable students to understand what Africans experienced when they were enslaved. Parents were informed in advance of this exercise and given the opportunity to opt out if they were uncomfortable with it.”

Briquelet was the principal back then and allowed the class.

“Whitney HS Principal John Briquelet is fully aware of the feedback from the postings and have shared them with his history teachers.”

Then Cerritos Mayor pro tem Mark Pulido told HMG-CN, “I am outraged, I had no idea, this must end.”

Former ABCUSD board candidate Daniel Fierro told HMG-CN at the time, “This is outrageous and in complete opposition to the principles of inclusion and diversity that the Whitney family and the ABC Unified School District hold dear. Under no circumstances should students be restrained, especially without any forewarning or discussion to provide context. This morning I spoke to the President of the Board of Education as soon as I learned of the incident, and I look forward to the district rectifying the situation and improving its communication processes. This program has no place in our schools.”

Current board member and past President Chris Apodaca, who stopped the slavery simulation as president within hours after he found out, wants to hold a town hall meeting with Dr. Briquelet “front and center.”

“We want to get to the bottom of this, we need to listen and take action.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One Response to Racist and Homophobic Online Posts and Videos Roil Whitney High School in Cerritos

  1. Bay Boy Chairs Reply

    June 7, 2020 at 7:02 am

    Heard campus will be partially closed down, because of safe distancing guidelines. School is over crowded.

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