Bodie Brizendine: Parents slam principal of elite Spence School over clip mocking White women

Spence School is believed to have inspired the hit TV show 'Gossip Girl' and boasts of Gwyneth Paltrow and Kerry Washington among its graduates


                            Bodie Brizendine: Parents slam principal of elite Spence School over clip mocking White women
Bodie Brizendine is the principal of the Manhattan-based Spence School (Vimeo/The Spence School, Wikimedia Commons)

Parents of students at Manhattan-based Spence School are furious over a video shown in class that mocked White women. According to reports, the furor started when a teacher showed her eighth-grade class an episode of Ziwe Fumudoh’s Showtime series where the comedian asks writer Fran Lebowitz, “What percentage of white women do you hate? And there is a right answer.”

The incident enraged the students' parents, who blamed the school for its 'woke' fixation on race. Following the uproar, school principal Bodie Brizendine sent an apology email, which failed to placate the parents' concerns. One of the parents sent a strongly-worded letter to the principal and school board where they said, "While I was upset after hearing what happened at Spence, the email from Bodie that followed really pushed me over the edge." Recently, another private NYC institution - Dalton School - faced controversy of similar nature after first-graders were shown 'woke' sex-ed cartoon videos that talked about masturbation. 

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Who is Bodie Brizendine? 

Ellanor Brizendine 'Bodie' has been the principal of the Spence School since 2007. The elite all-girls private school, which is often believed to have inspired the hit TV show 'Gossip Girl', boasts of Gwyneth Paltrow and Kerry Washington among its graduates. 

Prior to her stint at Spence School, Brizendine was the head of Marine Academy for 11 years. In December 2020, Brizendine announced her plan to retire in 2022. However, the latest controversy appears to have put the veteran educator in a precarious position. In her apology email, she stated, "This video is not part of the Spence curriculum. Our teacher and the School acknowledge that sharing a satirical video that made fun of White women was a significant mistake.”

However, the parents were not willing to accept her 'understated' apology, which they termed as hollow and insincere. They further accused her of using generic language that minimized the gravity of the incident. "Choosing to label the video as ‘satirical’ and that it ‘made fun of’ and ‘ridicules’ is a gross understatement. That you ‘fully trust the professionalism of your dedicated faculty and will be strengthening protocols’ is not an acceptable response," read the parental letter, as quoted by New York Post

The letter criticized the school for no longer focusing on academics or their motto of "helping to mold intelligent, caring, strong, capable, independent young women". "Make no mistake you have lost my ‘trust and support’ and it is up to you to earn it back,” the letter told the principal directly. 

The letter also accused the board saying, "Further, that the board has not weighed in on this matter gives the impression that the board shares the opinion that racism is indeed acceptable as long as it fits within the climate of the times."

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