City Schools of Decatur investigates video showing son of Decatur High admin making racist threats
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This story has been updated.
Decatur, GA — City Schools of Decatur is investigating a video that shows the son of a Decatur High administrator making racist threats.
It is the latest incident involving a video of a Decatur High student using a racial slur, but this video also includes a threat to the African American community.
The video shows the student holding a toy gun while saying he will use it to “kill n******.”
Octavia Bowman, who is black and who has a son attending Decatur High in August, said she is concerned for her son’s safety after seeing the video.
“My son is scared,” she said. “I’m scared for him. The black city of Decatur community is hurting.”
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Decaturish received a copy of the video on May 27.
In a statement, Cheryl and her husband Eddy apologized for their son’s actions. He was 14 when he was filmed and is currently a student at Decatur High.
“We are embarrassed and saddened by the video of our son that we first saw last night as it started spreading through social media,” they said. “The video was made about a year ago. There is no excuse for his actions, and he will face the consequences from the school system and us. He was not making a threat but was inexcusably trying to make a joke about people who make such threats. We will do our best to ensure that he never forgets the harm and pain his actions have caused. We hope we can eventually regain the trust of our community, especially our black neighbors and colleagues. We will work to do so with no expectation that it should be easy for us. We are so sorry that our son’s actions have contributed to the racial discord and unfairness that continue to plague our country. We love our son and hope his thoughtless action does not define his life.”
Justice Nahmias said his nephew’s actions “embarrassed and saddened” him.
“I learned late last night about the disgusting video that my nephew made last year when he was 14 years old,” he said. “Like the rest of my family, I was embarrassed and saddened by it. It is simply awful and inexcusable, and it does not reflect my family’s values or what we have tried to teach our children about the importance of treating all people with respect and dignity. I love my nephew, and this seems so out of character for him. I do not intend to comment further in a public way about this matter.”
It is unclear whether Cheryl Nahmias will face any consequences for her son’s actions. So far, the student hasn’t been charged with a crime.
A spokesperson for the school district said the Police Department has been contacted.
“City Schools of Decatur is aware of the disturbing video circulating of a young man displaying a weapon while making a racist, threatening statement,” the spokesperson said. “We can confirm this is a Decatur High School student. Due to privacy laws, we are unable to identify the student or his family. We are actively investigating this incident, collaborating with the Decatur Police Department, and will be taking appropriate action at the conclusion of our investigation.”
Superintendent David Dude did not immediately respond to a question about how the district has dealt with the other videos of Decatur High students that have surfaced in recent weeks.
The superintendent did make a statement on Facebook about the latest video.
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“I am at a loss for words, so I am going to share my unvarnished thoughts tonight,” Dude said. “I am angry, disgusted, heartbroken, and so many other things. Again tonight many of us have now seen yet another racist display by a Decatur High School student. As if the racist language is not enough, this time it’s accompanied by a display of a weapon and a statement about killing people of color. What is the excuse going to be this time? He didn’t know he was being filmed? He didn’t know someone was going to post it? He was drunk? High? It happened a long time ago? The gun wasn’t real? I’m tired of excuses and I know so many in our community are as well.”
The video is the latest incident that has inflamed racial tensions within the school district. In April, videos emerged of other CSD students using racial slurs. The school district said at the time that it would investigate those videos and there would be consequences for the students involved. In another high profile incident, a home security camera captured video of a white Decatur High lacrosse player knocking on the door of a black Oakhurst resident for eight minutes while his white friend, a fellow lacrosse player, watched the confrontation. Both of the young men were arrested. The young man who knocked on the door was arrested on a charge of simple assault and the other young man was arrested on a charge of being a party to the alleged crime.
Mawuli Davis is noted local civil rights attorney and co-chair of Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights, an organization that has worked for years to improve racial equity in the school system.
He called the latest video “disturbing.”
“It’s alarming, and it requires some action,” Davis said. “We’re having an emergency meeting for Beacon Hill to discuss what our action will be. White supremacy and the disregard for black life and the black community are at an all-time high, and it’s not just in America but it’s in Decatur. These videos, this behavior, these teens, all just further undergird why we have to continue to engage in addressing white supremacy because that’s at the root of all of this.”
Decatur High School Principal Rochelle Lofstrand sent the following email to parents on Thursday afternoon.
To DHS Students and Parents:
Last night, another racially-charged video from a Decatur High School student was posted on social media. I am leading the investigation of this incident and will be working in conjunction with Wilson Center staff and Decatur Police Department. We will be taking appropriate action at the conclusion of our investigation.
We need to make connections with one another. We need to build community together and hold each other accountable for the racism in our DHS community. I know we haven’t worked together yet in a way that builds trust or that reflects my commitment to this work but please know that as a white woman, I am aware that I sit in a seat of privilege and I will leverage this privilege to make our school, our city, and our country a place that is better than this.
Dr. Dude’s message this morning (https://www.facebook.com/
csdsupt/posts/2593402450933638 ) reiterates my views as well as our district’s commitment to our racial equity work. We have to do this community healing and education TOGETHER. The multiple, violent displays of racism over the past two months both in Decatur and in our country shed a light on the urgency of our work as educators, parents, and community members. Silence and apathy in the face of racism is not an option. We are all educating the next generation of police officers, teachers, parents, partners, mayors, community members, etc. and I, along with other DHS and CSD staff, take this responsibility VERY seriously.
Rochelle Lofstrand, Principal
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