MHS protest

Students gather outside of Malibu High School on May 15 to protest.

A now-viral video of local students fighting each other and using inflammatory language has residents wondering: What exactly is happening on the Malibu High School campus?

Shared on multiple platforms, including on Twitter by a college student last Wednesday, May 14, the video depicts two groups of boys shouting at each other, going so far as to spit and use a racial epithet, at the school’s basketball court area. One boy threatened to have “10 dudes” kill another boy.

The caption to the video read: “[T]hese two black boys are being spit on, cursed at and harassed by their white classmates, Malibu High School decoded [sic] to suspend the victim and refuses to do anything about it and local authorities will not take us serious, please help us get some justice for this issue.”  

It is unclear who sent the Twitter user the video, or how long the fight had been going on before it was recorded. MHS administrators were not seen near the students in the video. (The video comes in at just longer than two minutes.)

The video garnered hundreds of comments, some threatening in nature toward the students and some demanding to know what the school district was doing.

On behalf of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, spokesperson Gail Pinsker said on Tuesday, May 21, “We are aware of an incident at Malibu High School on May 8th involving some students who were initially playing basketball. We take all incidents involving students on campus seriously and investigate.” 

In a previous email to The Malibu Times, Pinsker said, “We are looking into whether this was a racially motivated incident as part of this investigation.”

A small protest was held before school started on May 15 and Pinsker confirmed the students involved “disbursed for class when school started.”

In the days after the video went viral, the district held conversations with students, as part of its restorative justice practice, to discuss “experiences on the MHS campus.” The school’s psychologist as well as the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu were involved to address the “concerns”—it is unclear if these conversations involved race.

A “peaceful assembly,” as the original Twitter user called it, is scheduled for Friday, May 24, at 7 a.m. at Malibu High School. That assembly is scheduled to end in time for students to attend morning classes.

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