Why A Principal Berated Parents And Community Members As Being ‘Nosy White Neighbors’

A Pasadena principal is drawing heat for his words targeting local "nosy white neighbors" near the school he works at.

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner | Published

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Pasadena principal

Due to an obsession with race and racial-based assumptions, a Pasadena principal may have displayed his prejudice against white parents, community members, and police officers. Rudy Ramirez presides over the San Rafael Elementary School. When police were called to investigate suspicious activity on campus, he raced to the scene to interfere with a legal investigation

Concerned community members called to report that a door was left open at night and a man dressed in street clothes had been seen on the premises. This man happened to be a school custodian working overtime, but being that he was not in uniform and school security issues specifically focused on unlocked and open doors have been reported time and again, police were sent out to investigate the situation. When the Pasadena principal was notified he rushed to the scene not realizing that the police were wearing body cameras

He was recorded angrily shouting about “noisy white neighbors.” The Pasadena principal then went on a rant about race and accused the community of targeting the custodian for his heritage. Instead of recognizing his own bias, he degraded those he works for instead of empathizing with people who merely saw a strange situation and feared for their school. 

Upon review of the camera footage, the mayor found that police handled the situation properly. They responded to a 9-1-1 call, detained the man involved, and questioned him. Within six and a half minutes his identity was verified and he was released. Despite this routine response, the Pasadena principal used his own personal bias to assume that police would abuse his employee and that white people called to harm a hispanic custodian. 

The report found that the initial 9-1-1 call gave no racial implications. Race was not mentioned, nor was the race of the person who made the call. Because the Pasadena principal displayed racial prejudices against white community members, he wrote an apology describing his side of the story. In his statement, he admitted that “I was hurt because the entire scene brought back my personal trauma of growing up in Paramount where gun violence and police harassment were normal.” 

Instead of rationally assessing the situation based on the events involving the situation he was entering, he used past experiences for justification. Yet having admitted this, he also acknowledged his fault and expressed a deep apology which displayed his humanity and the potential to learn from his mistakes. “I made some offensive and inappropriate comments in the presence of a Metro Patrol Officer who had his body camera on without my knowledge.” He also noted that “I am deeply ashamed of the language that I used and some of the things that I said.”

Pasadena principal

While the Pasadena principal’s behavior has been deemed unacceptable, his apology explained his personal struggle and the Pasadena Unified school district condemned his behavior. The Mayor also noted that “The answer to past racism is not more racism.” Some community members do not believe the Pasadena principal’s apology goes far enough, while others are glad to put the incident behind them and look forward to a new school year. Whether Rudy Ramirez will receive further reprimand from the district is uncertain, but he allowed his past experiences to influence a personal prejudice against the local community and police officers and that is something that may interfere with his ability to ensure that all students are properly cared for.