A vice principal at Sunnyside High School in Fresno, Calif., was placed on paid leave this week while the district investigates a video in which he uses the phrases "ghetto girls" and "Section 8 people."
Fred Veenendaal was identified as the staff member seen in the video circulating on social media platforms, district leaders confirmed, adding that he was placed on leave Monday in connection with the video.
'Office You Got... Three Section 8 People Here. Ghetto Girls'
The incident reportedly took place as the girls, identified as17-year-old Kyra Schrubb, 17-year-old Bri'janae Lewis and a friend as they were cutting through his gated community as a shortcut to the store, as reported by ABC7.
Veenendaal is seen on the video making a phone call to someone he addresses as "officer," when he called the three students those names, according to the Fresno Bee. A tense back-and-forth between Veenendaal and the students follows, in which the students accuse him of harassing them.
At the beginning of the video, someone behind the camera can be heard saying, "We didn't even do nothing, so we recording you right now. You know that's harassment, right?"
Veenendaal replies, "No it's not." He then can be seen raising his phone and appears to make a call to someone who he addresses as "officer." He goes on to say: "Officer, you got three girls here. Three Section 8 people here. Ghetto girls."
"Section 8" is the former name of the federal government's rental assistance voucher program for low-income people. The tense back-and-forth between the vice principal and the young woman continues while he also holds up his phone as though he's recording them. Watch the video below:
Fresno Unified School District Releases Statement
On Friday (April 21), the San Francisco Gatereceived a statement from the Fresno Unified School District addressing the ongoing investigation into Veenendaal's actions.
"We are aware of the video circulating, and the District started an investigation into the matter early Monday. The labels used in the video do not align with the high standards we have for our Fresno Unified leaders and staff," read the statement.
"Because this is a personnel matter, we will not be able to disclose any resulting information from the investigation. We want to assure our families that having respectful, inclusive, and loving adults serving in our school is of the utmost importance to Sunnyside and our district as a whole," the statement concluded.