This is required viewing.

Seattle math teacher (and occasional theater actor) Truman Buffett explains why he left the (private) Bush School. He also talks about his background—the racial bullying his adopted sister endured, how the racist bullying led her to commit suicide, and how he was inspired to teach because of the Rodney King riots in LA.

And talks about seeing administrators at the Bush School tolerate open racism from the children of wealthy donors—a group known as the "Really Rich Boys' Club."

They'd gotten the message from the administration that there really was nothing that they could do that that was ever going to get them in any sort of real trouble... There was a pattern on the part of the administration to turn a blind eye to really rather outrageous behavior by members of the "Really Rich Boys' Club."


You should hear the story directly from Buffett's lips, but here's a quick synopsis:

Buffett made this video, in part, because one of his students was planning to write a segment about this issue for a school project called the "Bush Big Broadcast" (24 hours of internet video programming by students).

Buffett says the administration told him that if a segment about this controversy were included, the school would shut down the entire project.

Buffett's video is specific and damning: He says that a senior student, a member of the "Really Rich Boys' Club," circulated a long, racist print joke around the school. The senior put his name on the joke, bragged about it, and was, Buffett says, "unrepentant." Teachers, students, and staffers were outraged.

High-level members of the administration decided not to punish the boy, under pressure from his really rich parents. The parents, Buffett says, were worried that if the senior were suspended, the colleges he'd already applied to—and were waiting to hear back from—would find out. The faculty was furious.

Math teacher Truman Buffett resigned left the school (his contract was not renewed, he says, because of tensions with the administration over this incident and others like it) and made this video. He also included contact information for the administrators who declined to sanction the racism of the "Really Rich Boys' Club."

"I would give them [the Bush School] an A for how they teach English, and history, and mathematics," Buffett says. "I would give the Bush School an F for how they're teaching ethics... That's my story. That's why I don't teach at the Bush School anymore. That's why I decided to not be a parent at the Bush School anymore. This is why my family and I decided to leave the community."

Watch it now.

UPDATE

Here is a post that Buffett wrote in 2010, detailing some of the other pathetic cries for attention by the "Really Rich Boys' Club": smearing shit on other kids' cars, circulating letters bragging about the "bitches" they'd "bagged," posting photos of themselves rubbing their penises on the door handles of other students' cars, etc.

Those are the medium-sized crimes. Kids, Buffett says in his video, go to school (in part) to screw up and learn lessons and become more fully formed human beings.

The major crime, Buffett says, is the adults excusing this racist, bullying, and pathetic behavior: the parents excuse it to save their pride, while the administrators excuse it in exchange for money donations*.

And that's really pathetic.

*A couple of people have misinterpreted that phrase to mean "administrators were being bribed." That is emphatically not what I mean. I just mean being nice to people who have been generous to the school in the past and could be expected to be generous in the future.