LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – School officials are urging increased sensitivity on campus at an East Los Angeles high school after a video surfaced of a teacher calling Kobe Bryant a “horrible person” and a rapist just one day after the Laker legend’s death.
The incident was recorded Monday at James A. Garfield High School, where a 14-year-old student says band teacher Brian Bailey made the comments during a four-minute rant in which he’s heard making disparaging comments about Bryant, who died Sunday in a helicopter crash.
While the audio captured in the video is difficult to hear, Bailey appears to touch upon several points, including how he believed Bryant was bad for the Lakers as a team and how he was to blame for the helicopter crash.
“What made him a great basketball player also made him a horrible basketball player and a horrible person,” Bailey is heard saying on the video, later adding that he believed Bryant was ultimately responsible for getting the Lakers to trade Shaquille O’Neal to the Miami Heat in 2004.
Bailey also referenced Bryant’s 2005 sexual assault trial, in which Bryant’s accuser later dropped the charges.
“That guy raped a girl and got away with it, he raped her, his money and his power got away with raping a young lady,” the teacher continued. “If it was any of you, you’d be in jail.”
He also appeared to question Bryant’s decision to fly in a private helicopter that fateful morning when it smashed into a Calabasas hillside at nearly 200 mph.
“Is there any reason in God’s green earth you need to take a helicopter from Orange County to Calabasas?” he asked. “It’s a 40-mile drive, and from the time it takes you to drive to the airport and drive to another airport and get in a car, that’s 40 minutes also. Anyone knows that flying in a helicopter is the most dangerous things in the world, and by being selfish and by not being able to wait, he killed his family, straight up.”
“I know it’s not a popular opinion and you have every right to be upset with me,” he added.
In a message sent to parents Tuesday morning, Garfield principal Andres Favela said officials were aware of the statements: “We recently learned that negative comments about Kobe Bryant were made in a classroom…We also ask that everyone please be sensitive to others when discussing tragic events both inside and outside of the classroom.”
Counseling staff at the school have been alerted and were being prepared to deal with the issue, a spokesperson told CBSLA.