NAACP president invited to Hendricken after 'inflammatory' video surfaces
The president of the NAACP's Providence branch on Thursday said he has been invited to Bishop Hendricken High School after an "inflammatory" video surfaced, showing the school's principal using racial and anti-semitic language.
Longtime Principal Jay Brennan retired Wednesday following the video's release.
"That way, I can take care of all the n------ and the k----," Brennan says in the video while smiling.
Jim Vincent of the NAACP told NBC 10 News he has been asked to visit the school.
But Vincent said he's not sure when he's going or who he would be speaking with.
During a previous interview with NBC 10, Vincent said Brennan's remarks are unfortunate.
"You have people in those groups in your school," Vincent said, referencing African- Americans and Jewish people. "I mean, would they be proud to hear you talk like that?"
He also said the words Brennan used are a reminder of deep-rooted oppression.
"It's painful," Vincent said. "And, of course, you're not in our shoes, but that's all the more reason to be cognizant of not doing it."
The school's president sent a letter to parents, explaining the circumstances.
"We recently were made aware of a six-second video clip from the past with a statement made by Mr. Jay Brennan which includes inflammatory language," President John A. Jackson notes in the letter. "The video clip, which is under review, has no context and Mr. Brennan was being secretly recorded, but clearly the language is inappropriate. We will not tolerate inflammatory language in any context."
Jackson added that Brennan has had more than a 40-year career at the all-boys Catholic school and has provided "unfailing support for the ideals and mission of our school."
He also said it "is a difficult time for our community, but through prayer and the continued efforts of our students, families, faculty, staff and alumni, Bishop Hendricken will continue to provide the best Catholic education available in our state."
Bishop Thomas J. Tobin later issued a statement about Brennan's comments. He said he is both stunned and sorry.
"The incident seems completely out of character for a good man who has the reputation of being a fine Christian gentleman and an exemplary Catholic educator," the bishop said. "Nonetheless, the administration of the school has taken the incident very seriously and has responded quickly and appropriately."
Tobin also said that "racism is a sin, a grave sin, and expressions of racism will simply not be tolerated by any employee of the Diocese of Providence, its agencies or institutions. On behalf of the Diocese of Providence I sincerely apologize to any group or individuals who have been offended -- and rightly so -- by the language which appears on the video."
When NBC 10 visited Brennan at his Seekonk home Wednesday night, he refused to comment.