FULL STATEMENT: Henrico leaders apology over controversial video

Published: Feb. 10, 2016 at 10:24 PM EST
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Henrico Schools issues response to controversial video

Henrico, Va. Feb. 10, 2016 – Today Henrico County Public Schools is issuing additional public response to concerns from the local community pertaining to a video played during student assemblies Feb. 4 at Glen Allen High School.

"The matter continues to be under review internally after first coming to the attention of school division leadership on the evening of Thursday, Feb. 4," said Superintendent Pat Kinlaw. "While we as educators do not object to difficult and constructive conversations about American history and racial discourse past and present, we understand why many people feel this video in particular was not the best way to deliver such an important lesson."

A portion of the video, titled, "Structural Discrimination: The Unequal Opportunity Race" was one part of a larger presentation that included topics such as racism, equality and honoring diversity.

School division leaders have received numerous emails and phone calls objecting to the video.

"The school division has heard the feedback from our community loud and clear, and we will take additional measures as needed to review instructional material on an ongoing basis," Kinlaw added.

"In our community, while we do encourage open and frank discussions, perpetuating a racial divide, stereotypes or exclusion of any kind is not acceptable," said School Board Chair Micky Ogburn.

"The Henrico School Board and administration consider this to be a matter of grave concern," Ogburn said. "We are making every effort to respond to our community. It is our goal to prevent the recurrence of this type of event. School leaders have been instructed not to use the video in our schools. In addition, steps are being taken to prevent the use of racially divisive materials in the future. We do apologize to those who were offended and for the unintended impact on our community."

"We live in a county that is beautifully diverse, and we celebrate that diversity," Kinlaw said. "This event will help inform our future efforts to promote cultural understanding."