Lancaster, California, school officials and police are looking into the origins of a racist video that spread across social media recently. The Snapchat footage depicts a female high school student painting a male pupil’s face black as others make racist comments.
The video captures a student behind the camera wondering of the one whose face is being painted, “a white n—-a?” Then, another student says, “ooga booga n—-r.” All the students attend Quartz Hill High School.
Folks online have expressed their disgust with the footage.
“I go to school and classes with this kids and I’m embarrassed to be even called their classmates.”
“That’s actually disgusting and I hope they live a terrible life.”
“I hope they go to hell this is so racist.”
NBC 4 reported a letter was sent home to parents Wednesday alerting them that the school and the Antelope Valley Union High School District is aware of the video and is looking into it.
“We were recently made aware of a social media video showing a group of teenagers exhibiting deeply offensive, and inexcusable racist behavior,” the statement, obtained by various local outlets, read in part. “This runs counter to the District’s core values of integrity, respect for the individual, diversity, and community. We are working on identifying those in the video, while including our law enforcement partners, and will take action as deemed appropriate. We strive to provide a culture of inclusivity and kindness. We ask all parents, students and community members to share our commitment to compassionate and kind conduct both on and off campus.”
Additionally, the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station posted a statement on Facebook Wednesday saying a report has been written about the video by one of the station’s deputies. It added that since the people involved are all juveniles, “our station is limited on the information we are able to provide. At this time, the investigation is ongoing.”
But amid the controversy, one student and a district official believe the video should be seen as a teachable moment.
Angelie Zambrano, who is Black, attends Quartz Hill and says she is friends with one of the students in the video.
“I don’t think that it was a coincidence that they were putting on a black face mask and saying the n-word in the same situation,” she said at a press conference Thursday, June 27.
“I asked her why and what went through their heads when they said what they said and they did what they did. She said, ‘To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t know. It was a mistake and I’m really sorry about it,’” Zambrano, who NBC L.A reported said the incident should result in education, recalled her friend telling her.
Antelope Valley Union High School District Board Vice President Victoria Ruffin attended the press conference as a community member. She said to the news station she feels “we should be embracing them and trying our best on educating them on ways in which they can be informed.”
“The blackface issue here is huge and I am positive these students don’t fully understand why their behaviors are offensive,” Ruffin said at the press conference according to Antelope Valley Press. “I don’t believe they understand it.”