The Washington Post

School probes video of White teens using n-word

- BY NICOLE ASBURY

A group of mostly White teenagers from an all-boys private school just outside the District was recently recorded in a viral video singing the n-word while riding on a D.C. Metro train. Administra­tors at the Landon School where the boys are enrolled said in a statement Tuesday that they were “deeply concerned” by the video and were looking into the matter

Jose Romero recorded the video while on a Red Line train toward Glenmont on Thursday.

When he boarded the car at the Metro Center station, it was packed with dozens of students, some wearing shirts and backpacks from Landon, a college preparator­y school in Bethesda. All the teenagers seemed to be facing toward a speaker in the center of the car, and they were chanting when Romero stepped in.

Romero, who is Latino, couldn’t make out what the students were saying until a song came on that he recognized, “Freestyle” by the rapper Lil Baby. Romero began recording a video, with his camera angled toward the back of the students’ heads as they sang three verses that contained the n-word. Someone in the video seems to call attention to the students saying the racial slur by saying, “Yo, yo,” before the song stops and the group of students laugh.

In a statement, a spokeswoma­n for the school said the students’ “conduct and offensive words are unacceptab­le and antithetic­al to our school’s values and our Civility Code.” When asked about any punishment the students would face, the spokeswoma­n said any disciplina­ry measures taken would be confidenti­al, given the students’ ages.

Another video shows the group of teenagers hitting the windows and top of the Metro car as they yell a profanity about Gonzaga high school. Gonzaga College High School is a private Catholic college preparator­y high school in the District. The Landon soccer team was playing against Gonzaga that night.

Romero posted both videos online and tagged Landon’s social media accounts. His post gained attention from other influencer­s around the D.C. area, including Claudia Conway — the daughter of Kellyanne Conway, adviser to former president Donald Trump — who called the behavior “so disgusting” in a comment.

A dean from Landon contacted him the next morning with further questions about what happened in the Metro car, Romero said, including whether he heard any student nicknames that could help identify who was involved. The school’s administra­tors had already identified two students in the video and planned to talk to them, the dean told Romero.

“I did make it clear to him it’s impossible to tell who is saying [the n-word] and who isn’t,” said Romero, 44. “I think that you can’t really single out one person, but the school should really take this as a teaching moment … for those students.”

Since posting the video, Romero has gotten some comments from what appeared to be students from the school. He said he has since restricted those comments so they don’t appear publicly to protect the students from being targeted by other users online.

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