Thousands of people are offering support and encouragement for a Prior Lake, Minnesota family after the father confronted his daughter's bullies in a YouTube video. The father of those bullies lost his job just two days after the video was posted.Brad Knudson recorded a nearly 6-minute YouTube video complete with racist voicemails from the father of two children who apparently sent his 8th grade daughter Dierdra a series of malicious Snapchats.
Deron Puro was an independent contractor at a financial firm, and his employer confirmed to Fox 9 on Wednesday that he is no longer associated with that company as of Jan. 21.
A YouTube plea
"We have a very beautiful African American daughter that we were very fortunate enough to adopt 11 years ago. We've dealt with a little bit of racism, you know, stares, things like that when she calls us mom or dad, but she didn't notice so we just blew it off because it was directed towards us," Knudson says in the video.
However, on New Year's Eve, Knudson says a set of twins from Prior Lake High School sent his daughter a few Snapchats, smartphone video messages that disappear after they're viewed. Knudson said his daughter's friend, who was with her at the time, brought the incident to his attention, and upon receiving the fourth Snapchat, he and his wife recorded it with their own phones. In the Snap, the speaker calls the recipient "such a slut, "a n*****," and a "fat a** b****."
Upset and aware of the destructive behavior bullying can prompt, Knudson called the boys' parents, left messages on their home phone, went to their house, but couldn't get in touch with them. Then, he went to the police. Police at Prior Lake High School apparently talked to the boys and the parents, who issued their cell phone number. Knudson called Puro, who told Knudson the explicit language was commonly used around his house and didn't think much of it, Knudson says in his YouTube video.
A voicemail, apparently from Puro, said the following:
"Yeah, Brad, tides have turned, huh? I guess you're n***** lover. Call me back."
He called back, told Puro he planned to post about their correspondence, and Puro allegedly told him that was fine.
Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools said they are still investigating if this was a situation isolated to one day, or if this has been ongoing.
Assistant superintendent Jeff Holmberg said as soon as the school district learned of the video Tuesday afternoon, a two-part investigation was launched.
One: What happened exactly? What led up to the those Snapchats and has any harassment happened since?
Two: Are others students involved?
A school liaison officer met with the families over the winter break, and either Thursday or Friday as well.The Minnesota Safe and Supportive Schools Act seems to apply in this case, if school officials decide the "use of electronic technology and communications off the school premises to the extent such use substantially disrupts student learning or the school environment."
Puro's Facebook page has been removed and his number appears to have been disconnected. We could not reach him for comment.
Meanwhile, Knudson's wife Wendy said she is organizing her own anti-bullying group and contends state and school policies aren't doing enough to combat bullying.
Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools statement
"Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools is aware of the You Tube video. First and foremost, we do not tolerate racism, harassment or bullying of any kind. We are conducting our own investigation to get a better understanding of the events that led up to this video. We have reached out to Mr. Knudson directly to offer support for his daughter. We strive to maintain safe and respectful schools for all of our students and will continue to work to ensure a safe learning environment for all of our students."
Kristi Mussman, Director of Communications
About bullying in Minnesota schools
The Minnesota Safe and Supportive Schools Act requires each school district to adopt a school policy that "must establish research-based, developmentally appropriate best practices that include preventive and remedial measures and effective discipline for deterring policy violations; apply throughout the school or district; and foster active student, parent, and community participation." The act requires student bullying policies to apply both on and off school property and before, during and after school hours.