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Wrestlers Call Black Santa Monica High Student Slave Locked with Noose

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by hearit

hearit's picture
In The News

A problem of racial harassment plagues Santa Monica High School (SAMOHI ) in California--in a scandal where the public school's "H House" principal allegedly told a black student not to tell police about fellow wrestling team members locking him to a locker with a "dummy bag" that was wearing a noose. Students allegedly shouted "Slave for Sale" in the hate crime.
In racial harassment reminiscent of Ku Klux Klan (KKK) history and its gatherings, the related vidence has apparently been destroyed by administration or school officials. The idea seems to be that destroying photographic evidence was to protect the high school's students.
A police investigation has begun over an alleged May 2011 locker room assault by wrestlers, where an African-American high school student endured racially-based harassment by fellow students and teammates. Mother Virginia Gray says her son was cornered in the high school's locker room by two wrestling team members -- the black student physically locked to a locker while Santa Monica high school students allegedly shouted “Slave for Sale!”
Santa Monica High school teammates are said to have posed a human-sized dummy, a "dummy bag" normally used by the wrestling team for practice, with a noose while shouting the racial slur.
Santa Monica-Malibu district officials admit the young black man was physically locked to a locker, and a “dummy bag” with a rope noose was displayed in the locker room on May 4. Officials received reports of the racial slur “Slave for Sale” -- but Santa Monica High School administrators claim the African-American student told them he didn't hear it and can't verify whether or not the racial slur was said.
It's all called one scared boy, whose afraid of embarrassing his school and wrestling team. But it seems those entities have already embarrassed themselves.
The two wrestling team members responsible for bullying the black student were simply suspended from Santa Monica High School -- not thrown out of the school altogether. It seems SAMOHI has learned a thing or two from Southwest Airlines and its handling of hate. The Southwest Airlines pilot --whose March 2011 microphone rant included an open expression of hate for gays and overweight women -- got a similar "punishment" of temporary suspension and training in "sensitivity": The Santa Monica High School wrestling team members involved in the hate crime were sent to "sensitivity and diversity" counseling.
The high school apparently believes it's good enough that Santa Monica's athletic teams -- including its wrestling members -- met to have a talk about the "incident" and what is supposedly acceptable behavior.
According to Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) Superintendent Tim Cuneo: “Behavior or statements that degrade an individual on the basis of his or her race, ethnicity, culture, heritage, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental attributes, religious beliefs or practices is not tolerated."
"I'm not trying to diminish this,” claims SMMUSD Superintendent Cuneo in regard to the hate crime, “but it's one incident, not a trend.”
"One incident"? That'd be "one incident" that wasn't reported to police in a timely fashion, "one incident" where photographic evidence that could've been used by police was destroyed -- and "one incident" that marks one hell of a hate crime that seems to have been covered up by the school or its administrators. Strangely, it seems diminished.
“We take this thing very seriously,” says Tim Cuneo. “This incident serves as a reminder that we need to be ever vigilant in monitoring student name-calling, bullying and hate-motivated behavior.”
Cuneo has called for sensitivity training for all staff and a review of school policies and curriculum to make sure that the district is doing all it can to promote tolerance and harmony.
Photos of the "dummy bag" with the noose were apparently deleted from student cell phones, promptly confiscated by school administrators -- supposedly to make sure those pics didn't wind up on the internet. Or that's what the black student's mom says Superintendent Cuneo told her at a meeting at SMMUSD offices.
Either that, or to ensure evidence didn't wind up in the "wrong" hands -- like with police for, say, prosecution of a hate crime that would make one particular high school look very bad.
Virginia Gray's African-American son didn't report the locker room hate crime when it happened. His mom didn't get to find out until a month after her son had been trapped in the Santa Monica locker room by the wrestlers. A female student -- also from the wrestling team -- did speak up.
Gray says her son didn't talk about the locker room incident specifically because Santa Monica's "H House" Principal Leslie Wells told him that, essentially, if he made a big deal about it, he'd be putting the wrestling program in jeopardy.
When the student's mother, Virginia Gray, spoke out at a school board meeting, district superintendent Tim Cuneo apologized, calling not informing the boy's mother “our failure”.
More than the Santa Monica Police Department is involved now: SAMOHI parent Michael Chwe has lodged a complaint with the Regional Civil Rights Director of the United States Department of Education, where he claims in a letter that actions of SMMUSD administrators “deny the civil rights of its students.” Santa Monica high school administrators or its employees are accused of destroying the photos of the noose, taken during the locker room assault, and specifically failing to notify police that a hate crime had occurred on the Santa Monica High campus.
Michael Chwe has cited use of a noose as a symbol of terror -- against California law.
Chwe's letter to Regional Civil Rights Director of the United States Department of Education addressed that, “In other words, the two boys [Santa Monica High School wrestlers] committed a crime. There is no question of interpretation about what the noose 'means' or whether the noose constituted a hate crime."
Not surprisingly, even top district officials refuse to speak. Superintendent Cuneo won't publicly comment on Chwe's letter. He's on his way out -- Tim Cuneo is stepping down from his position at the end of June 2011, when Sandra Lyon assumes the position of SMMUSD Superintendent.
And SAMOHI Principal Hugo Pedroza is also leaving the Santa Monica-Malibu school district for Lompoc school district -- far, far away.
The "H House" principal who allegedly told the black student not to report the racial harassment: Well, she appears to be staying with the school. That's something Santa Monica High is sure to be proud of.
Perhaps the Santa Monica High School Wrestling Team needs to be banned for a bit -- until someone decides on a better repercussion than "diversity and sensitivity" training for display of racially-based hate.
If you're disgusted by racial harassment and hate crimes and want to make a change that matters, log in to Wacktrap now in a sign-up that takes less than 30 seconds and ensures your privacy. Remember: Without commentary, the world cannot change for the better.
The L.A. Times has just reported that Project Islamic H.O.P.E. is urging legal prosecution be pursued in the Santa Monica High School hate crime involving its wrestling team members.
If you'd like some answers from Santa Monica High School administrators as to why this type of hate crime has not had more serious repercussions for the wrestling team members and students involved, contact them now:
Email the Santa Monica High School's "H House" Principal Leslie Wells by email now or phone the "H House" principal directly at SAMOHI telephone (310) 395-3204, extension x71136. She would be the woman whom allegedly told the black student, who was locked to a locker and called a "Slave", that he could jeopardize the school's wrestling team by notifying officials or police about the hate crime or involved wrestlers.
If you'd like some answers from the Santa Monica High School Wrestling Team, Email Head Coach Mark Black or phone Mark Black directly at SAMOHI telephone (310) 395-3204, extension x71427.


Santa Monica High School (SAMOHI )
601 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405-6302
United States
Phone: (310) 395-3204
34° 0' 40.4172" N, 118° 29' 6.4572" W
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