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Missouri attorney general uses teen-fight video to attack DEI programs

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey is trying to use a disturbing and violent video to stoke racial division and baselessly attack diversity, equity and inclusion programs.


Missouri’s attorney general is using a viral video of teenage girls fighting to advance his crusade against diversity, equity and inclusion policies. 

Attorney General Andrew Bailey, a Republican, is attempting to probe the Hazelton School District, which is roughly 90% Black, over its DEI policies after a video depicting the teens fighting gained traction in conservative media and on far-right social media accounts. 

In the video, one teen is seen slamming the other’s head on the ground, reportedly resulting in severe head injuries. Indeed, it’s a disturbing video — although certainly not unique. Unfortunately, teen fights have become a popular genre in certain sectors of the internet.

And, crucially, this didn’t even occur at a school; it happened in a neighborhood blocks from Hazelwood East High School. However, many conservatives have pointed to the video as evidence of anti-white violence. Authorities haven’t even released the races of the teens involved, and there’s been no evidence provided that the fight was racially motivated, but one teen is fair-skinned. And that’s attracted conservatives like Bailey, who’s attempting to weld the incident to the GOP’s anti-diversity push.

Bailey, who I should note is currently up for re-election, is now stoking a public fight with Hazelwood school district officials and demanding documents that aid this racially charged crusade.

The district responded to Bailey’s document demands in a scathing letter, denouncing him for lying and for his “obvious racial bias against majority-minority school districts.”

Referring to diversity programs offered at Hazelwood High School, Bailey said on Newsmax, “This school has a history of promoting racially divisive ideology and indoctrination programs ahead of student safety.” 

And despite the fact the fight didn’t occur on campus, Bailey told Newsmax his investigation would determine why the Hazelwood district “booted the safety resource officers off campus in favor of a DEI program when the law enforcement agency said they would not participate in the DEI program.”

School resource officers have faced criticism in recent years as studies have exposed their tendency to police nonwhite students disproportionately. Following the summer of racial justice protests in 2020, the Hazelwood school district voted to require school resource officers to undergo diversity training. And indeed, as The Associated Press reports, the district received backlash from local police departments. 

According to the outlet:

Issues with school resource officers in Hazelwood schools began in 2021 when the district tried to require police to attend 10 hours of diversity, equity, and inclusion training to work at the schools. Police chiefs from St. Louis County, Florissant and Hazelwood sent a letter to the school board in June of that year saying police “receive training that is more than adequate and addresses the critical matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion.” No deal was reached between police and the schools, prompting the district to hire 60 private security guards to replace the school resource officers. Hazelwood police later returned to some of the district’s buildings as school resource officers. But Florissant and St. Louis County police never reached an agreement with the school district.

So, let’s review the facts, shall we? This was not a school fight. There’s no evidence that it was racially motivated, and there’s certainly no evidence that it was fueled by “racially divisive ideology and indoctrination programs” purportedly offered through the Hazelwood School District’s diversity initiatives.

But Republicans have tried to blame virtually every problem they can think of on diversity, be it bank collapses, ship crashes, airplane safety failures and, now, teen fights.