A California middle school vice principal has been put on paid administrative leave after making a racially insensitive comment on video.
Vice principal of Scandinavian Middle School Joe DiFilippo has a lot of explaining to do.
A video was posted on YouTube on March 13 (see video below) of a conversation between him and some students, ABC 30 reports.
In it, an off-camera student asks DiFilippo, “Who at this school do you not like?”
After about 10 seconds, the vice principal broke his silence and said, “I just don’t like the black kids.”
The clip comes to an abrupt end and it is unclear if DiFilippo was making a joke. Regardless, parents are not amused.
“That’s not a joke,” Latricia Medley, whose child attends the Fresno middle school, told ABC 30. “That’s not a very funny joke.”
Medley admitted that she had previously spoken with DiFilippo and did not get the sense that he was racist. After watching the video, she feels different.
“I think he should be fired,” Medley said. “Why should we have to have our kids overseen by someone that don't like them.”
Ann Frank, whose child also attends the school, agreed.
“If he said it, he needs to be fired,” Frank told the Fresno Bee.
Some African-American students are now coming forward, saying they feel targeted by the vice principal because of their skin color.
The school district issued the following statement to Action News:
The interaction between the Scandinavian student and our employee has been brought to our attention and we are conducting an investigation. Fresno Unified takes this matter very seriously and we will take any necessary action pending the results. During our investigation, and as a matter of practice, the employee is on paid administrative leave.
DiFilippo earns $87,449.44 per year in salary with benefits, according to Transparent California.