School girl video sparks heated debate

April 17, 2012 - All News

A Brampton high school student who posted a video of herself on YouTube making disparaging remarks about “brown people” and Sikhs sparked angry responses Monday and a brief police investigation.
The girl spelled out her full name at the end of the video and invited any “white people” who think like her to contact her via Twitter or Facebook. She received feedback of a different kind, though, as the backlash spread across the Internet. The just-under-two-minute video was met with a barrage of criticism on the Internet from those labelling it “racist” and “hate speech”.
Her Twitter and Facebook accounts have since been closed.
Peel Regional Police investigated after receiving complaints and viewing the video, but they have determined the teen did not break the law.
“It (the video) does not constitute a hate crime,” said Peel police spokesperson Const. George Tudos.
Tudos said police spoke to the girl Monday and they will continue to “monitor” the situation.
“It is something we will monitor in case anything does happen as a result of that video,” Tudos said. “We find it (the video) rather disappointing.”
The video was removed from YouTube Monday, after several thousand views, but it has been re-posted and distributed by those denouncing it.
The reaction has been a slew of mostly profanity-laced insults aimed at the teen, and a small number suggesting violence might be directed toward her.
Police said that is one of the things they will be “monitoring”.
Brampton’s Ryan Naraine and Suman Furmah registered their objections to the video in an email to The Guardian.
“Many commenters ‘disliked’ on the video, however it was the few number of ‘likes’ the video got which were particularly enraging,” Naraine, a university student, wrote. “It’s those few people who agree with her messages of hatred that are upsetting. This type of hate should not be accessible to the youth on the Internet.”
Naraine called her video remarks “strong and hateful” and her claims “ignorant and arbitrary”.
Peel District School Board officials would not confirm rumours that the girl had been suspended from school.
“Information related to student discipline is personal and confidential to the student and family involved,” said spokesperson Carla Pereira.
She said any reports made to school staff would result in an investigation by board administration, and police would be contacted, if appropriate.
“We take reports like this very seriously,” Pereira said. “We expect all students to demonstrate appropriate online conduct and refrain from improper/unethical use of technology while at and away from school.”
She said it is in the schools’ codes of conduct, and students who break that code are “subject to appropriate progressive discipline.”