The vice principal of a California middle school has been placed on paid administrative leave after he was filmed saying, “I just don’t like the black kids.”
The video of Joe DiFilippo, the vice principal of Scandinavian Middle School in Fresno, was posted to YouTube over the weekend by a user claiming to be a relative of one of the children in the clip.
The video appears to have been filmed on a student's cell phone.
In the video, a student off-camera asks the administrator, "Mr. DiFilippo, who at this school do you not like?"
A student standing next to DiFilippo says, "Me," and another child says, "All of us, he's just here for the food."
After a pause, DiFilippo says, "I just don't like the black kids."
A spokesperson for the Fresno Unified School District told BuzzFeed News that a parent of one of the students involved in the video contacted the school last week and told them about the footage.
The school contacted the district on Friday, and DiFilippo was placed on leave Monday, Jed Chernabaeff said.
Chernabaeff said that DiFilippo has been employed by the district for 18 years and has worked at Scandinavian Middle School since 2010.
A third-party investigator is currently conducting an investigation into the matter, he said.
"Fresno Unified takes this matter very seriously and we will take any necessary actions pending the results," Chernabaeff said.
Former students told the Fresno Bee that they had felt singled out by DiFilippo for discipline because they were black.
According to one student, DiFilippo had told his brother he needed to change his hair, which was in dreadlocks, because it "looked funny."
Another told the Fresno Bee that DiFilippo would question students who wore red shirts because it is a color linked to a local gang.
"He was picking on every black person with a red shirt — mostly me," the teenager said.