Bronx Students Organize School Lockout after Racist Video Surfaces & Declare Victory 3 Days Later

Manuela Cardiga
Mar 16, 2019
05:56 A.M.

Students at Fieldston have ended their days-long lockout of a campus administration building sparked by outrage over a racist video.


Students at a $40,000-a-year New York City private school have ended their days-long lockout of a campus administration building after the Board acceded to their demands.

The lockout was sparked by what the students saw as a lack of decisive action by the Cultural Ethical Fieldston School administration after a video of some of the school's senior students racist and homophobic rants went viral.

“Y’all. After nearly 72 hours, extensive back and forth with the administration and the overwhelming support of you all … THE LOCKOUT IS OVER!”



The Cultural Ethical Fieldston School in New York would probably be the last place where you'd expect to find the seeds of homophobia, racism, and misogyny busily growing under the surface of an ostensibly progressive and liberal campus.

In February, a video showing members of Fieldston's senior class spouting racist and homophobic views went viral, and exposed what the students claim is an underlying racist culture at the school.


The School has agreed to include a mandatory Black Studies course in the curriculum


The school administration's response to the video left much to be desired as far as the students were concerned.

The Head of the school, Jessica Bagby, sent out a letter to the parents declaring that the video had been made "years ago," and assuring them that the incident was being investigated - even though the students in the video were current alumni in the senior class.



In a clear demonstration of their dissatisfaction with the administration's lack of transparency, the student group "Students of Color Matter" locked the administration staff out of their offices on March 11, 2019.

“We’re here today in light of recent events, imploring those who desire to see our institution move forward to stand in solidarity with the students of color and white allies of the Ethical Culture Fieldston Community.”



The School has agreed to comply with the student's demands, which include disciplinary action taken against the students in the video, a written apology from each of the students involved and a “global investigation” into the culture of racism at Fieldston.

“Fieldston has accepted all 20 demands and have organized a formal plan agreed upon by all parties to implement each demand as soon as possible!”

The School has agreed to include a mandatory Black Studies course in the curriculum and add more teachers of color to the faculty.



The Fieldston incident is not isolated and follows on the recent posting of a video clip on March 3, 2019, showing a group of Alabama high schoolers discussing their prejudices against Blacks and Jewish people.

In the video, one of the inebriated teens from Spain Park High School asks:

“Without the Holocaust, what would the world be like?”

To which his friends respond:

“Jews would run the world! F–k n—ers, f–k Jews.”

One of the students goes so far as to suggest placing Black people in concentration camps "until they die off." All of the students voiced their racist views quite openly, and with no trace of embarrassment.

A spokesperson for Spain Park has expressed the school's repudiation of the views expressed by the students but declared that they would not be disciplined since the incident did not take place on school premises.

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