BREAKING: MVHS student uses the N-word in a video shared with staff

On March 2, an email concerning a racist video was sent to the MVHS community


Megha Mummaneni

MVHS principal Ben Clausnitzer sent an email to Monta Vista students and parents two days after a video of a student saying a racial slur circulated among staff members.

Megha Mummaneni

The MVHS community received an email from principal Ben Clauznitzer on March 2 at 6:58 p.m. regarding a video that had been shared with the staff. In his email, Clauznitzer wrote that the video, which consisted of a student saying the N-word, had been sent to staff members on Tuesday. However, due to privacy concerns around the students involved being minors, he was not able to reveal who was in the video and who shared it with the administration.

In the email, Clausnitzer explained the negative connotations the word had for the Black community. He added that any hateful language is not tolerated at MVHS, which follows a district-wide policy implemented last year. The proposal called for English and Social Studies teachers to prohibit the usage of the N-word by non-Black students in the classroom.

“The N-word has been used in history and in current times by non-Black people to separate, dehumanize, and oppress,” Clausnitzer said in the email. “Saying this word in any context perpetuates a culture of anti-Blackness.”

Sophomore Akshita Nigam shared that she found this incident deeply disrespectful towards the Black community and was surprised it happened, pointing out the irony of the incident occurring after the Advisory lesson on Black History Month took place on Feb. 10. However, she feels satisfied with how the school handled the issue and is glad everyone has been informed.

“There is still racism in this community even though we might not see it,” Nigam said. “And you can’t force the other person not to say something offensive because it’s an understanding that needs to come from the person themselves. They need to know who they’re disrespecting by saying that word, and I think spreading awareness is the best thing the school can do for now.”

Clausnitzer concluded his message by talking about a Race, Racism and Equity workshop that will take place on March 6 at the FUHSD District Office Board Room, which will be available for any interested parents or guardians. In a second email, Clausnitzer informed students that 9th grade P.E. classes would engage in a discussion about racism and the N-word on Thursday and Friday of next week in order to help them understand the significance of the incident and mitigate future occurrences.