Update: This article has been updated to report that the Facebook video and Google Drive have been deleted and a few details have been clarified by Bonnie Kim.
A heated debate unfurled when a series of videos were uploaded to Facebook on Tuesday by user Bonnie Kim. A group of teens trespassed on her family’s Long Island, NY property, and she, along with her parents, drove after them and called the police.
The group of seven or eight teens, roughly around 15 or 16 years old, were running around the neighborhood and “ding dong ditching;” except, in this case, Bonnie claimed they “violently kicked [her] front door (it shook the entire house) and ran away, only to come back ten minutes later and do it a second time.”
(To view the videos below, you must click on the Facebook post and watch through the social media platform.)
The incident happened on Monday night in the Long Island residential area and the footage below is from a separate Asian family’s security footage, around 9:53 p.m.
Bonnie captioned how one “kid played dumb for like five minutes, claiming he wasn’t with those other guys, [but then] his little friends came back and started whooping and hollering, heckling us, clearly getting a kick out of the whole situation.”
She said one even pulled down his pants and flashed his rear to her mother, which can be heard in the second Facebook video where he said, “you saw my fat ass.”
The one in an all-black attire told them to “grow up.” Another taunted behind him saying, “we’re going to come back.”
Eventually, after tailing the teens, the situation escalated when Bonnie “called them out on their White privilege.”
The teens laughed, continued taunting, and called her racist; one yelling back “Chinese privilege,” and another saying she’s a “Karen.”
Bonnie’s father can be heard telling the boys, “just be good citizens,” and trying to get her to stop yelling at them in Korean.
“When I told the officer that those kids were racist and called us Chinese, he shrugged and said I shouldn’t have said ‘white privilege.’ I told him if they were black kids running around doing that, they might get shot. He told me not to say things like that,” she added. “He also rolled his eyes at one point and said, ‘They’re bored 15-year-olds.'”
Bonnie said that she was thankful for the officers’ help “though they couldn’t do much besides give those idiots a stern warning.”
Later that same night, she claimed the teens chanted “White privilege” on the street behind hers, which she heard outside her bedroom window.
Since then, the post continues to gather attention and outrage with reactions for both sides. Two boys claiming to be from the group commented on the post as well but deleted what they had to say. Separate Facebook users screenshot, uploaded, and continued to add these comments into a public Google Drive folder, titled “DELETED COMMENTS WEE WOO.”
Here are only a few of the alleged teens’ comments compiled below:
Then, two of the three sisters from the Ruggiero family (who are half Asian), have come forward to voice their past grievances from the same teens. The sisters claim that Marco called them ch**k and other racial slurs, destroyed their bike, still continue to make Chinese comments at them, and also trespassed and kicked their door that night as well.
The question of White privilege was brought into question, where some accused Bonnie of racism and playing the “race card,” and how she shouldn’t have “chased them down.”
A majority said the teens need to be held accountable for their actions and that it is the responsibility of the Syosset Central School District to prevent and properly educate against incidents like these. Some have even taken to explain White privilege and how if the boys were Trayvon Martin, the situation would be different.
While others urged the teens to recognize that they shouldn’t be “ding dong ditching” in the first place.
One Facebook user linked to internet personality Eugene Lee Yang’s recent Twitter post to say that it was inexcusable even if they were just “bored” teens.
I grew up in Texas where I was often bullied by white kids. Don’t talk about it much. They’d wait for me after school so they could taunt and hit me on my way home. Once, when I dared call them racist, one of them said, “I’m not racist, I’m just bored.” That really stuck with me.
— Eugene Lee Yang (@EugeneLeeYang) June 18, 2020
While the debate continued in the comments of the Facebook post, a written letter to the administration was drafted and sent to their school district.
A day after, on Wednesday, an official statement from the Syosset Central School District was released addressing COVID-19 and quarantine, and how “messages of intolerance and hate are not tolerated here.”
Superintendent Dr. Thomas Rogers’ statement read, “Let me be clear: racism, bias, intolerance, and hate have no place in Syosset. Period.”
He echoed the sentiment he expressed in 2017 when Syosset students were responsible for anti-Semitic and racist graffiti on school grounds: “‘every student – regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or religion – is entitled to attend a school that is warm, welcoming and safe.’ We can, and we will, do more.”
The Syosset Board of Education led a YouTube livestream addressing this matter, where board member Tracy Frankel suggested introducing a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) to go along with their DASA (Dignity for All Students Act) Coordinator.
Dr. Rogers noted that Syosset staff members have been reaching out to students who’ve “raised those issues,” and that has been “ongoing for the last several days.”
“At every building, there is a DASA coordinator,” he said, mentioning how it was “an anti-bullying law that was instituted,” and “any sort of inappropriate behavior, whether it’s bullying or race-based bullying or microaggressions — all falls within that DASA statute.”
He offered to research and see whether other school districts have a model similar CDO in place or additional means for students to feel more comfortable voicing their concerns. The focus group would feature current students or alumni to gain their perspective.
Feature Image Screenshots via Bonnie Kim