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Elementary students received this email from their principal, which many are considering racist. Parents of kids attending La Jolla Elementary School in California received an email alert from Principal Donna Tripi on Monday warning parents of what she thought was a safety concern. But maybe the e-mail revealed more of the writer’s prejudices than they anticipated.

The email voiced a concern from a parent, detailing a parent’s account at a local Starbucks. It read:

“This morning, a parent came to see me to report an incident… She was with her two children…when an African American male about 30 years old, about 6’1-6’2, dressed in all black and a hooded sweatshirt began staring at her daughter.”

The email goes on to say that nothing actually happened but the parent felt uncomfortable and left the establishment.

Many parents were angered by the email, claiming that there was no reason to cause alarm over a non-incident, and that, without further details, the incident recalled the incredibly racist events of the likes of BBQ Becky or Aaron Shlossberg, white people who call the police on people of color minding their own business.

The parents also noted that Tripi’s description of the man was vague and relied on stereotypical descriptions of black men. Tripi apologized in a followup email, which read:

“My email was a mistake. …The way I communicated didn’t provide enough specifics to identify the individual, but could easily lead to unnecessary and harmful reactions against other members of our community… African American males continue to face discrimination in our society every day. The thought that I unintentionally contributed to that climate with a vague email is something for which I owe our community an apology.”


Tripi, however, stands by her concern and believes the parent had a legitimate fear. However, a note to any white people who feel like calling the police on a black person doing nothing: fear of someone doing nothing should not trump that actual person’s safety, and recent headlines should only show how giving in to that kind of fear could endanger people’s lives beyond whatever minor infraction gets people to call the police or otherwise.

What do you guys think about this principal’s email? Do you think this parent was just racist and the principal should have exercised better judgement? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.

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