‘Kids See These Comments As a Joke’: Students at High School Attended By Tupac Shakur Walkout In Protest of Video of Classmates Using the N-Word; Complaints Reportedly Ignored

About 125 students in a Northern California high school gathered in protest against classmates who made a video where they used a racial slur targeting Black people.

The group, led by co-presidents of the Black Student Union of Tamalpais High School, walked out of the school in an organized fashion to demonstrate their objection to the clip. According to the reports, the video, which was circulated among students last week, shows several students using the N-word while others laughed.

students protest racial slur video with walkout
Tamalpais High School students protest racist video. (Photos: YouTube screenshot/KRON 4)

Logan Raven and Auvin Cole planned the walkout for Wednesday, Oct. 11, in response to the use of bigoted and abusive language.  

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“I think this brought attention to racist comments and the use of the N-word around campus and online,” said Raven, who is a senior and a member of the school’s basketball team, according to the Marin Independent Journal.

The school in Mill Valley, California, is also known for having once been an educational institution for rapper Tupac Shakur. Tupac attended the school in his junior year and part of his senior year before he dropped out. It is also the backdrop for his first interview, which was captured on video in 1988.


For Raven and Cole, the leaders of the Black Student Union, the goal was to get the school district to take note of what happened and take action against the individuals responsible for the offensive video.

Around noon, the youth walked from the school to Mill Valley City Hall. They then returned to the school, walking along Miller Avenue — peacefully. According to reports, hundreds of community members, school staffers, and adults joined them as they marched.

The issue for Cole is that there is a culture of permissiveness that breeds racism. He believes if it went unchecked, it could easily become a threat that is dangerous.

“We feel there hasn’t really been discipline or punishment enacted for people who do this. I feel like a lot of kids see these comments as a joke,” said Cole, who is also graduating this year and is also a baller.

Students who marched also said they were “against the administration at [Tamalpais]” for not taking action, saying other things also needed to change.

While the school is one of the top schools in the nation, with the 138th highest graduation rate out of the high schools in the state, the African-American proportion of the student body is small. Some 67.6 percent of the students are white, and 3.7 percent are Black, according to the US News and Report. Hispanic people make up 11.5 percent, while students of mixed heritage come in at 10.8 percent.

Addressing the concerns of the Black students is something students believe has been ignored.

“It’s about the Black Lives Matter first of all, but some incidents have led up to this, which made us have a walkout,” one student said, according to KRON 4.

Students were not the only ones upset.

A Marin City clergyman, Bishop Johnathan Logan of the Cornerstone Community Church, said he watched the video and went to speak with some of his religious counterparts.

“It raised a lot of concerns to think that people are still putting out negative racial remarks about people and about a particular race of people. It’s disturbing,” Logan said.

Sarah Turner is a senior citizen in the North Bay community and says she stands with the young people and got others from Seniors for Peace to join the march.

“We were told by one of the students what had happened,” Turner said. “We were very concerned that people were using racial slurs that were hurtful to people, so we want to end that.”

Students said they “loved the support” they received from the community and looked to the school to take action. The school believes it is moving toward justice and has activated an investigation.

The school’s principal, Kimberly Clissold, said in a communication to the school’s community that they were aware of the video and that it was “disturbing and disappointing.”

“The administration is investigating and actively addressing this incident with the students involved,” Clissold said. “As a district and school, we condemn all acts of racism and will continue efforts to educate our student body about the harmful impact these acts have on our fellow students and our broader community.”

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