Many find YouTube video on EHS offensive


This still image was taken from a YouTube video about Eastside High School.

Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 10:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 10:46 p.m.

A controversial video featuring students from Eastside High School has circulated around the community and gotten the attention of the African American Accountability Alliance.

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This still image was taken from a YouTube video about Eastside High School.

The student-produced video, uploaded to YouTube in late January and titled "The Eastside High School Movie," includes clips of high schoolers using profanity and racial epithets while discussing their feelings about Eastside. It also includes footage of students disrupting class and getting into fights.

The nearly 15-minute movie is peppered with students showing off their tattoos, complimenting Eastside, dancing to rap music and female students showing off their backsides.

The movie was brought to the attention of the Alachua County School Board at its meeting Tuesday night, when members for the 4As, short for the African American Accountability Alliance, spoke during citizen input.

Darry Lloyd, 4As president, and Juliun Kinsey, chair of the organization's education committee, announced plans for a community forum where they will screen the movie and hold a discussion about it.

They invited the School Board to the forum to be held at 6:30 p.m. March 4 at the Alachua County Health Department.

On Wednesday, Lloyd said he was shocked when he saw the video earlier this week. He believes Eastside parents, students and administrators, as well as other community members, need to come together and discuss some of the problems illustrated in the clip.

"It's about the language that was used, the lack of respect for adults that are supervising," he said. "And there's a lack of self-respect and some self-esteem issues."

The student primarily behind the movie is Darrin Gillins, a former student in the Institute of Culinary Arts who received some local recognition in December 2011 for winning The Gainesville Sun's annual Holiday Cookie Contest.

Eastside Principal Jeff Charbonnet said GIllins moved to another community to live with a parent.

"He was on his way out, and he decided to make this video," Charbonnet said. "And he posted it to the Internet after he had left Gainesville."

Citing the privacy of student records, Charbonnet would not discuss how many more students were involved or any disciplinary actions taken against them. Without citing any specifics, he said there were violations of several provisions of the student code of conduct.

Charbonnet said students, parents and alumni have said they found the video offensive.

"This is clearly not an accurate portrayal of our school," he said.

School Board Chair Eileen Roy, who spent 10 years teaching at Eastside before her tenure on the board, visited the school on Wednesday and spoke with Charbonnet about the matter.

She later said she had yet to see the video but felt it did not reflect all of Eastside's students.

"Eastside gets a bad rap because it's on the east side of town," she said.

On Wednesday, some students said they had not heard much about the movie, and others said that they'd seen it and found it to be tame and unsurprising.

"It wasn't bad to me," said Judea Barkley, 18. "It was normal kids just trying to have fun."

Jessica Colson, 18, said the movie was a hot topic for a few weeks, but it has since faded.

"It's gone now," she said.

Kinsey said that being familiar with the culture of the area as a 2009 graduate of the Professional Academies Magnet at Loften, he said he realizes students may find little wrong with behavior in the video.

"To them, it's not that big a deal because that's a part of the culture that they've gotten used to," Kinsey said.

Lloyd said that's why it's important for students, parents and school officials to have an open conversation.

"We're hoping to use this is a teachable moment," he said.

Contact Joey Flechas at 338-3166 or joey.flechas@gvillesun.com.

student-produced video

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