California high school controversy over student campaign video showing 'terrorists'

A California high school student sparked controversy last week after he created a campaign video that included people dressed as Muslim terrorists.

The unnamed student at San Ramon Valley High School created the video as part of his campaign for student body president, pledging to protect his classmates from ISIS fighters if they were attacked, KNTV reported. The video showed his friends dressed as "terrorists" while holding fake guns.

The school district stripped the boy of his title as president, but reinstated it after his parents planned to file a lawsuit, the news station added. The parents filed a writ signaling an intent to sue the school district. 


A spokeswoman for the San Ramon Valley Unified School District told Fox News on Monday that superintendent Rick Schmitt sent a letter to parents and staff addressing the incident.

"The District understands the public's interest in this issue, but the District cannot comment on the specifics related to a student's education," Schmitt wrote in the letter.

However, the video angered parents who deemed the video insensitive.

"These kids agree to a campaign contract with clear consequences for breaking will not get an office. I know it well because my daughter is the current ASB president," parent Karen Peace wrote in a Facebook post last Thursday that has garnered hundreds of reactions since.

The superintendent said in the letter that although the content in the video did not represent the district's views, officials did not perceive it as "hate speech."

"We urge members of the public who have not seen the video not to make assumptions," Schmitt added.

Students are protected by First Amendment rights and a challenge for schools is balancing free speech in an educational environment, according to Schmitt.

"As a community, moving forward, we will continue our focus on creating opportunities for students and staff to engage in open and honest dialogues about the importance of words," Schmitt wrote.