A principal at a Rhode Island Catholic, all-boys, high school announced his retirement after a video clip showed him using racial slurs against Black and Jewish people.
Jay Brennan was the principal of Bishop Hendricken High School for 40-years and was even honored at the White House in 2016 as a Teacher of the Year finalist, reported the Providence Journal.
However, his outstanding record as an educator was called into question when a short video clip showed Brennan in his school office saying, “That way, I could take care of the n****rs and the k***s,” the Providence Journal reports.
The six-second video was anonymously mailed to WPRI-TV investigators, as well as Rhode Island NAACP. Although the video does not show what happened before or after the slurs were used, the clip was enough for Brennan to step down amid backlash from his community.
“We recently were made aware of a six-second video-clip from the past with a statement made by Mr. Jay Brennan which includes inflammatory language,” Bishop Hendricken President John Jackson said in a written statement to WPRI-TV.
“The video clip, which is under review, has no context and Mr. Brennan was being secretly recorded, but clearly the language is inappropriate. We will not tolerate inflammatory language in any context.”
Jim Vincent, president of the Providence branch of the NAACP, said the language used by Brennan is “unacceptable.”
“I just don’t think a person of that authority should be talking like that. No matter where. No matter when,” Vincent to WPRI. “It hurts. It’s painful. It conjures up a past that was horrific for people both in the black and the Jewish community.”
Brennan has not released a comment regarding the video.
Diocese of Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin told WPRI that he was “stunned and profoundly sorry” to learn about the video and Brennan’s actions seemed “out of character for a good man.”
“Nonetheless, the administration of the school has taken the incident very seriously and has responded quickly and appropriately,” Tobin said. “Racism is a sin, a grave sin, and expressions of racism will simply not be tolerated by any employee of the Diocese of Providence, its agencies or institutions.”
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