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Former MLB superstar and current Marlins hitting coach Barry Bonds used social media on Tuesday to condemn racist behavior involving several of his daughter's white classmates. In a video Bonds shared on Twitter, white students who reportedly attend Brentwood School in Los Angeles—the same school Bonds' teenage daughter Aisha attends—are shown using the n-word while rapping along to A$AP Ferg's song "Dump Dump."
The video Bonds shared was originally posted to YouTube on Sunday by a group called Brentwood Students Against Racism and includes stats about the school. According to the group's video, there are only three black 10th grade students out of a class of 120 at Brentwood, which the video claims is a 50 percent drop from the 2014-15 school year.
Brentwood School is a private, non-religious K through 12 school in Los Angeles, and its website claims that 26 percent of students in grades K through 6 and 34 percent of students in grades 7 through 12 are of color. The school has a diversity mission statement which reads:
Brentwood School embraces diversity and inclusivity as essential to a full education, and is committed to creating an environment that fosters openness and acceptance. The school recognizes multiple dimensions of culture, including but not limited to: age, ethnicity, family structure, gender identity, geographic origins, multiple learning styles, political views, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.
We are committed to weaving diversity into the fabric of who we are, what we do, and what we value. We aim to engage mindfully in open and frequent dialogues to ensure that each member of the community is valued, included, and respected.
In the YouTube video's description, Brentwood Students Against Racism wrote, "The administration has refused to take action about Brentwood students using the n-word," and posted a link to a change.org petition they've started to try and compel the school's administration to act on the incident. Here is a portion of the petition:
Brentwood School has failed to protect its students. A group of almost exclusively white students had a party on a boat and decided to sing the n word multiple times. Brentwood has done nothing other than offer to "talk to them." If these kids weren't in their socioeconomic position, of their racial heritage, or considered "assets" to the community (based on social status and/or their parents wealth), consequences would be different. Brentwood claims to value diversity and acceptance, but their lack of action demonstrates otherwise. This is just another example of their white favoritism. Unless they begin implementing the values that they parade, it will be difficult for more students that identify as minority members to feel embraced as a part of the community.
The petition was later updated to say that the school has promised to take action. Bonds' ex-wife Elizabeth Bonds signed the petition and left this comment on it:
Is this what $40k worth of private education gets you? I am extremely embarrassed that my daughter is a current junior at this school and has been here since kindergarten. I can't even speak. I blame the parents of these children. SMH.
In a statement sent to Complex, Brentwood Students Against Racism addressed the situation and said it hopes the controversy surrounding the video will help "promote change":
Recent events at Brentwood have prompted a much needed discussion about race. Members of the community have been pinned against each other and polarizing the student body. In this respect, Brentwood is a microcosm of society, and we think this is an important opportunity to educate the community and society in general on issues of race, respect, and community. We came together as a multiracial group that wants to see change at Brentwood on racial issues, where some in the community are often blind to the real effect race and racism has on individuals. This situation reflects how our generation can act with impulse on social media platforms, and the impacts can be vast. We hope this can be a positive opportunity to promote change, even if it may not seem like that now.
The group also noted that the aforementioned statistic included in the video is incorrect. According to the group, there are actually four black students in Brentwood's 10th grade class, which represents a 33 percent drop from the previous school year.
On Wednesday afternoon, Brentwood School released a statement about how they plan to handle the video moving forward:
Brentwood School is dealing with the impact of a video showing several students at a non-school party, singing lyrics that are offensive and inconsistent with our core values. We are investigating this insensitive behavior, will address the situation directly, and will respond seriously.
In addition, we will do more. We will reflect on our response as a school administration and identify what Brentwood School can do better in the future to help all of our students understand the harm that this type of conduct causes to themselves, to others, and to the community.
This situation underscores the fact that nurturing a climate of mutual respect and inclusion at Brentwood is an on-going process. We will use this as an opportunity to further authentic dialogue about diversity and what it means to each individual member of our school. Ultimately, this will further strengthen us as a community.
Brentwood School did not immediately reply to Complex's request for comment.