SAN RAMON (CBS SF) — An overflow crowd of students, teachers, administrators and parents gathered in San Ramon Tuesday night for a school board meeting to address a controversy that has erupted over a student council election video depicting Muslim terrorists.
The video was part of an unnamed student’s campaign for student body president and it immediately generated a firestorm of criticism and claims of racism. At first, school district officials disqualified the student from the council race.
But when his attorney claimed the video was merely the student exercising his freedom of speech, school officials relented and allowed his election as student body president to stand.
Mireya Wahab, a San Ramon Valley High student, scolded her classmates over voting for the student.
“When a student is full on discriminating against and being racist against a group of minorities and a religion itself that is completely not okay,” she said.
But the student’s attorney — D. Gill Sperlein – said his client realized his errors and should not be punished any further.
“My client took the video down right away and then when the administrators brought him into the office, he wrote a written apology right away,” he told KPIX 5.
It was not the first time that a school within the district has dealt with allegations of racism. Last year at California High School, someone scrawled racial insults and other hate messages on a bathroom stall and at nearby Monte Vista High a similar incident took place.
District officials say they have instituted sensitivity training and that it is working despite the latest incident.
“The district is absolutely committed to providing a community of tolerance and equity for our students and staff,” a district representative said.