In a note to parents, Boarman decried the student’s use of “vulgar racial epithets” that he said “horrified” him. Boarman wrote: “At Bullis, we have zero tolerance for discrimination, racial intolerance, violence, injustice, accusations and innuendo. … I hope you will agree that Bullis is a place where differences are celebrated.”
The 10-second video arose just days after a student’s insensitive comments in an English class essay stoked tensions at a public school in Anne Arundel County. It also followed an incident at a Howard County high school in which a recording of a white teenager’s racist remarks prompted a backlash. The episodes all involved messages that spread quickly online, reaching students on their phones and computers.
Noah Gear, an 18 year-old senior on the Bullis basketball team, said he was stunned when he first saw the video online.
“It was definitely a shock to hear the words coming out of his mouth, no matter what the circumstance is,” Gear said. He said the student body has been divided about the punishment the student received; Gear said the student was dismissed before graduation. Gear said that some students believe the student should have been allowed to receive his diploma with his classmates, but Gear said he thinks the administration did the right thing.
“Saying these things gets you the punishment you deserve,” Gear said.
Boarman wrote in his letters to the Bullis community that the student’s actions would be subject to the school’s disciplinary process. A spokeswoman for the school declined to confirm the results of any disciplinary actions.
“When one individual takes it upon him/herself to express words that are demeaning to some, it affects all of us,” Boarman wrote in a note sent last week. “We will be reinforcing that one-time comments and actions often have far-reaching consequences well beyond the immediate situation.”
Boarman told parents that the school will hold a series of discussions for the students on race and diversity in the coming weeks.
The student’s father told WUSA9 that the teenager did not know he was being recorded when he made the racist statements. The father said that his son made the statements while mimicking the language from “Django Unchained,” the 2012 Quentin Tarantino movie about a former slave who seeks to free his wife from a white plantation owner.
The student’s family could not be reached for comment. The Washington Post is not identifying the student because he has not been charged with a crime.
“I deeply regret my actions and feel terrible that my actions hurt others,” the student said in a statement provided to NBC4. “As someone who is Jewish and whose people were persecuted and slaughtered, I would never say anything derogatory about any other races because I understand the results of hateful speech. You can ask anyone that knows me and I am confident that they’ll vouch for me and say I’m an incredibly accepting and kind person.”
This post has been updated.