A dean at a Chicago high school is under fire for making racially insensitive remarks about Trayvon Martin.
A video surfaced online, sparking outrage and an investigation by district officials.
A series of disturbing videos was posted to Instagram by a student and shows John Fanning, the Dean of Students at the Whitney Young Magnet High School, embroiled in heated a discussion and defending Trayvon Martin’s murderer George Zimmerman, according to theChicago Sun-Times.
“I’m just going to ask this question: Was [Trayvon] or was he not on private property?” Fanning says in the video.
Members from The Real Whitney Young Movement, a group made up of students at the school, said the Dean’s comments are offensive.
“We feel that our dean spoke from a place of ignorance because he was not knowledgeable about certain aspects that play into the problem with what he said,” says a statement released by group. “We feel we can provide him with the knowledge about how his comments were insensitive to a group of his students.”
The movement wants to “pursue a restorative method, instead of an unforgiving one” in the wake of the questionable comments about the death of Trayvon Martin.
In recent weeks, former First Lady Michelle Obama has spoken about how educators at Whitney Young tried to discourage her from reaching for the stars.
According to DNA Info, Michelle Obama was told by some teachers that she was setting her goals too high.
“They told me I was never going to get into a school like Princeton,” the first lady recalls. “I still hear that doubt ringing in my head.”
Addressing the issue
Chicago Public Schools spokesman Michael Passman said the district is reviewing the videos in which the dean spoke about Trayvon Martin.
“The employee conduct in these videos is disturbing and in no way represents the supportive school environments that educators have created throughout the district,” Passman said.
Another video reveals Fanning defending racial slurs.
A student says it’s disrespectful for non-black people to use the N-word and it compared it being just as disrespect as non-gay people using the word “queer.”
Fanning replies, “So you can use the term paddywagon?” a term that is derogatory toward the Irish. The student replied saying they have never used that racial slur and Fanning replies saying, “You’ve never used that term? Never?”
One commenter on the video said the school administration are doing nothing more than sweeping the issue under the rug.
“This is how our administration addresses situations of discrimination that we bring to them,” one video caption reads. “They try to turn it around on us and act like it is not a big deal. This is why racists get so far in the world and get to decide our fates as justices, police officers, and presidents.”
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