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Hendricken, NAACP expected to meet following racially charged video of former principal

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WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — As dozens of Bishop Hendricken students wore black in what they called a demonstration of solidarity in response to a slur-laced video of their former principal, school administrators set up a meeting with the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Jay Brennan, who has not returned multiple requests for comment, was recorded secretly at an unknown time, according to Hendricken.

“That way,” Brennan says on the clip while smiling. “I could take care of the [slur for African-Americans] and the [slur for Jewish people].”

The six-second video was apparently edited, with no content before or after those 13 words. It was emailed to the Providence branch of the NAACP and Target 12.

Target 12 forwarded the clip to Bishop Hendricken President John Jackson.

Providence NAACP President Jim Vincent said he agreed to a request from Hendricken to meet with the school’s leaders.

“I’m going to keep an open mind,” Vincent said Thursday. “I’m not sure what the meeting is going to be about, but hopefully they want to do something positive and maybe progressive going forward.”

There is no time frame for when the meeting will take place.

In a statement from Jackson, he called Brennan’s language inflammatory and inappropriate, while also praising the now retired principal for promoting diversity within the school.

According to Hendricken, in 2009 the Catholic all-boys school population included just under 9 percent minority students. Under Brennan’s leadership, minority enrollment climbed to 13 percent.

Vincent offered what he called a possible “yardstick” for schools and other organizations.

“The state is 27 percent people of color,” Vincent said. “I’m not saying that you have to be that diverse but I’m saying you have to have a goal, and that’s a good goal.”

The New England Anti-Defamation League also reacted to the video, with regional director Robert Trestan saying, “anti-Semitism and racism have no place in public or private conversations.”

“It is a serious concern when offensive slurs are part of the vocabulary of school officials,” Trestan added. “We expect educators charged with teaching our children to be role models and must hold them accountable.”Target 12 Investigator Walt Buteau can be reached at wbuteau@wpri.com and follow him on Twitter@wbuteau

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