Joe DiFilippo, a California middle school vice principal, should be fired. He has no business in education after he was recorded on video telling his students: “I just don’t like the black kids.”
DiFilippo has been suspended and ordered to take paid administrative leave from Scandinavian Middle School in Fresno pending an investigation.
But what’s to investigate? DiFilippo has made his feelings about African-American students quite clear and his callous remarks were captured on video.
“If he (DiFilippo) said it, he needs to be fired,” Ann Frank, who has a child at Scandinavian Middle School, told the Fresno Bee. DiFilippo, who earns $87,449.44 per year in salary and benefits, has worked at Scandinavian Middle School for five years. The school is 11 percent black.
DiFilippo is not just a teacher – he’s a vice principal in a leadership position and helps set the standard for educating students of all races and ethnic backgrounds. That’s why DiFilippo needs to go.
The controversy started after DiFilippo was filmed outside the school’s cafeteria and a student says: “Mr. DiFilippo, who at this school do you not like?”
“Me,” says one voice, while another says, “All of us.”
And that’s when DiFilippo says, “I just don’t like the black kids.”
Parents are angry, outraged and concerned – all for legitimate reasons. While some may brush off DiFilippo’s comments as a joke, I would argue that in California, which leads the nation with racial hate groups, (77) teachers should focus more on racial tolerance and cultural understanding because young black and white students need guidance in a growing multicultural society.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, the eight types of hate groups the center has identified include white nationalists, black separatists, neo-confederates, Christian identity, skinheads, Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis.
I’m not suggesting that DiFilippo supports hate groups. I am saying that he must be cognizant of the racial environment and how his questionable remarks impact black students in California where the KKK is alive and well.
It’s unclear whether DiFilippo was trying to be funny. But let’s say it was a joke. Why would DiFilippo think it was amusing?
“That’s not a joke,” Latricia Medley, who has a child in the school, told a local television station. “That’s not a very funny joke.”
Medley told the station that she wants DiFilippo fired.
“It is never appropriate for school staff who are tasked with educating our youth to say they do not like kids of a particular race,” ACLU of Northern California staff attorney Novella Coleman told the Fresno Bee. “School administrators and teachers’ attitude toward students of a particular race inevitably affects their expectations of students’ educational achievement and students’ access to equal educational opportunities.”
School district spokesman Jed Chernabaeff told reporters that the district has employed an outside investigator to gather facts to make a “credible determination.”
Meanwhile, former students of Scandinavian Middle School gathered outside the school last week and chanted: “I love black people.”
If DiFilippo seriously doesn’t like black students, then he should be forced to look for a new job—and perhaps he needs to consider a totally different line of work.