Students at private school in the Bronx protest over racist video

RIVERDALE, Bronx (WABC) -- Students at one of New York City's most prestigious private schools are staging a protest.

The students at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in the Bronx have locked themselves in and administrators out, protesting what they call a racist culture at a school that prides itself on being progressive.

They are angry over a racist and homophobic video, and what they say is a lack of action by school administrators.

"One of the African-American students was called the N-word by the kids in the video," said Timothy, a junior at the school. "They said his name and I know that affected him heavily."

Even though it was only one student who was called the N-word, and it happened a few years ago, it still hit a lot of students at the school in Riverdale pretty hard.

"I feel really bad that this happened to him,' said Cameron, a junior. "He's definitely one of the leaders of diversity and inclusion and equity at our school."

That older video, shot at an off-campus party, has triggered a sit-in and an overnight lock-in for some students that has lasted two days and counting, and given birth to the group Students of Color Matter.

"Today is a sit-in and workshops talking about restorative justice, how we can move on from this process and help strengthen the community and what steps should we take," said Timothy.

The video only recently surfaced, and the school says when it found out about it, it immediately convened an upper school disciplinary committee to look into it.

"I know he specifically said this is just a string of a bunch of racial incidents at the school," said Cameron.

Fieldston says it respects students' rights to protest peacefully and is working to "best address the systemic and cultural concerns" they share with students.

"The N-word goes deep,' said Timothy. "That's one of the last things our ancestors heard before they were killed."

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