Shortest Investigation Ever: Determining Whether It Was Inappropriate For The Middle School Vice Principal To Say In A Video, “I Don’t Like Black Kids”

"Wait, let's not leap to conclusions...maybe he's not dead."

“Wait, let’s not leap to conclusions…maybe he’s not dead.”

In Fresno, California, Scandinavian Middle School vice principal Joe DiFilippo was recorded on video by a student saying, “I don’t like black kids” in the cafeteria. The video was then posted on YouTube. Fresno Unified School District officials said DiFilippo has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.

Maybe I’m suffering from a momentary lack of imagination, but what else do they need to know? I understand union rules and the need for due process, but what findings could possibly, ever, under any circumstances, allow DiFilippo to keep his job? 11% of the school’s students are black. Why would they ever feel secure going to a school where an administrator said such a thing in the school? (I’m assuming the man didn’t really say, “I don’t like black kids any more or less than I like any other kids, as everyone in the school knows.” Watching the video would presumably make that possibility moot.)

District officials say they are investigating “the context in which the comment was made.”  What possible context could mitigate that statement? Let’s see…maybe he was talking about not liking them for special purposes, like snacks or as piñatas? “I don’t like black kids..when they’re on fire? When they are holding Uzis on my family? When they sing the Sponge Bob theme song”?

It doesn’t matter! If there is anything the man doesn’t like about black kids that he accepts about white kids, he’s not qualified to be a vice-principle.

Every second Mr.Fillippi doesn’t resign, he’s wasting time and money, and proving that he is just as big a fool as the video shows him to be. If no investigation can save  him, then he shouldn’t wait for an investigation to do the right thing.

 

20 thoughts on “Shortest Investigation Ever: Determining Whether It Was Inappropriate For The Middle School Vice Principal To Say In A Video, “I Don’t Like Black Kids”

  1. Well obviously he was talking about young goats, and the fact that when he sees pictures of them on Facebook, he doesn’t click the “Like” button.

    Hoofs up! Don’t Click!

    –Dwayne

  2. Vice principals are considered management and usually aren’t in a union. The exception is in particularly large districts where they will have a separate union for administrators.

    The reason for the paid leave is that many of the policies negotiated by the unions will apply to non-union members in the interest of “fairness.” They’ll go through the process just like they would for a teacher that said something like this, only they won’t have a union to fight for his job.

  3. This sounds almost as bad as a principal saying, “I like young girls”.

    What makes this different than the controversy over that racist chant by fraternity members is that the government has more leeway regulating employee speech than student speech. See Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006) The fact that the speech took place in the cafeteria means that Garcetti clearly applies.

    • I will argue this one, the audio is hard to hear but it sounds like he is jousting with these kids and his “I just don’t like black kids” sounds sarcastic.

      • When certain positions in life compel certain inhibitions, and definitivey a vice principle should never say this, even in jest, I’m not sure that is an argument or an “it’s not that bad” rationalization.

        • Where do you get “it’s not as bad as” or do you mean not the worst thing? Without context have no idea where his comment falls ethically, this is a gotcha video, look at the mocking behavior of the kid leaning on the pole. I would say the odds are 50/50 this guy needs to be terminated. I can think of several ways the conversation could have lead up to a sarcastic “I just don’t like black kids” to include quoting one of the kids back to them, there just isn’t enough video. The whole conversation could have been about race, attitudes and perceptions and he may have been playing a part, or he may just be an idiot, there is just not enough there. I just can’t make a call based on PC backlash where there is no context.

          • He might be a victim of his own carelessness, but if there’s a 1% chance he admitted to bigotry, then that’s cause for termination. It’s pretty simple: If you say “I [anything that is objectively bigoted or racist} out loud, you are a fool. What you meant is irrelevant.

      • It doesn’t matter. “It was just a joke” is no defense when we are talking about authority figures, leaders and role models. Other things a school administrator cannot say in jest, sarcasm, irony, or “banter”:

        1) I guess Hitler was right about the Jews.
        2) Come on, everyone knows women are too emotional for tough jobs.
        3) May be we should just beat up those gay kids so kids stop being gay.
        4) Well, if she was raped, she asked for it.

        In those official positions, it’s strict liability. It doesn’t matter what he meant. What matters is that he can be quoted, accurately, and lose the trust of a segment of the student body.

        • If he was being an educator and talking about bias or perceptions? There is not enough there to make a call, to me it looks like a setup, it may not be but it doesn’t make sense for him to be that stupid but not impossible.

    • Yes, lol. Joe DiFilippo was being flippant and it got him in trouble. He should realize that he who controls the video controls the conversation when its put on Youtube. I’m just guessing, because I wasn’t there, but I’m pretty sure that what the man meant to say was….

      “I don’t like the black kids who don’t do their homework and cause trouble.” The man was joking with the kids, and got himself in trouble.

      • As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure that what Joe DiFilippo said was that, because of how the video just cuts off….it doesn’t allow the guy to finish his sentence. My cousins and I would do that all the time. We’d ask each oter questions, and then edit the tape to make each other profess our love for the devil and hate for our mothers….its a common kid trick….. I’m surprised that’s all it took to cause such an uproar, and I’m sure most teachers will be more careful in the future…

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