A Maryland school district is disciplining a group of middle school students who were filmed chanting a racial slur on a school bus.
The video was originally posted on social media on Tuesday by parent Brandon Long, local outlet WUSA reported. Long’s original Facebook post has been deleted by Facebook, apparently for violating the site’s community standards. According to WUSA, it read: “So our daughter had to experience racism today on her school bus from Robert Frost Middle School in Montgomery County MD. They are singing 1,2,3,4 how many n***** are in my store. I am outraged and I refuse to let this slide. Please help me make this viral. Repost everywhere!”
Long did not immediately respond to requests for comment. His Facebook post was shared thousands of times, and he also tweeted an uncensored version of the footage:
Montgomery County Public Schools launched an investigation into the incident and found that the students “were reciting a popular Vine chant that addresses issues of racial profiling,” according to district spokesperson Derek Turner.
“Whatever the motivation may be, this is still inappropriate,” Turner added. “The students are being disciplined in accordance with the code of conduct.”
Turner also noted that the “chant was made from a diverse group of students that included African Americans, Latinos and Asian students.” According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Robert Frost Middle School is only 5 percent black, and majority white and Asian.
The district is now working to turn the incident into a “teachable moment.” School leaders plan to launch a discussion about race with students and parents in the coming days, Turner said.
Long said the school district’s response makes him feel no better. He said he thinks the district isn’t taking the incident as seriously as it should because the chant came from a viral video and because it was sung by a racially diverse group of students. The students were reprimanded by the school bus driver as they sang, but continued singing anyway, Long said.
“Racism does not have to be white on black and black on white. If it’s a racial slur it shouldn’t be used by anyone. Period,” said Long, whose family moved to the area several months ago.
Long said his daughter is “brand new to the school. She’s still getting to know her classmates and used to her schedule. For this to happen was disheartening and devastating.”
This article has been updated with comments from Long.
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