A video of two Shoreham-Wading River students using racial slurs and making racially derogatory comments on social media has led to significant backlash online and from district leaders.
The video in question was on a platform called Omegle, which pairs random people for video chat. That interaction was then published to other social media apps TikTok and Twitter Nov. 10.
The video shows two unidentified young men, who have been named students in the Shoreham-Wading River school district, paired on the social media platform with a man named Jovan Bradley, who according to his Twitter profile lives in Poughkeepsie. Bradley started off the conversation with a greeting, then the young men started with “My N*****” and “What’s up, N****.” The video continues with one of the two young men calling Bradley “slave” and saying, “I’m going to whip you” and mimicking cracking a whip.
Bradley, who is mixed race, later posted a video of the interaction to Twitter and TikTok. In it, he repeatedly asked the young men, “Why?” The Twitter video has been viewed over 38,000 times. The TikTok video has been seen over 417,000 times as of Nov.16.
The names of the two young men have not been released or could not be independently confirmed by press time. People on social media went on trying to find the names of the two students, but some supposed names of the two young men involved have been mistaken for other social media profiles.
Superintendent of Schools Gerard Poole released a statement Nov. 12 saying the video was “reprehensible” and that it was “in clear violation of the core values of our school district.” Poole said the matter will be addressed with both students for further disciplinary action.
The superintendent added that the district is rooted in teachings of “tolerance, acceptance and the importance of embracing diversity,” and they have tried to “cultivate a sense of unity and inclusion in our school community.”
Like many North Shore school districts, Shoreham-Wading River is predominantly white. The district is 87% white, 1% Black, 8% Hispanic or Latino and 2% Asian, according to New York State Education Department data. Long Island has a long history of de facto segregation, and advocates most commonly express this discrepancy by comparing districts like those on the North Shore with places like Brentwood, which is predominately Black and Latino.
Bradley posted to Twitter that at least one parent had contacted him with an apology by one of the students. The other student has yet to send an apology, according to the Poughkeepsie man’s latest TikTok post. Bradley has posted that he has gone on Omegle to debate people and also publicly shared his response to the apology Nov. 13, saying he hopes the young man takes “positive things from this experience” and that he hopes the young man sees fault with his actions “at a human level.”
“Take this experience to continue to educate yourself on what has and is happening in our country,” Bradley said in his post. “I do wish you a bright future if you can make those changes. Everyone deserves a second chance.”