PATERSON, NJ - Principal Zatiti Moody has been suspended with pay following a recent airing of a Fetty Wap video Wake Up filmed at Eastside High School. The decision was announced during the Paterson Board of Education meeting on Wednesday night.
Moody came under fire after the video was released on May 27 depicting drug use and partially clothed women twerk dancing.
The new album was released on April 20 and Fetty Wap wrote on his Instagram page that he wanted the song to be an inspiration to those in school or "just riding your own path."
He continued saying, "...school was never really important to me...I wanted to do things my own way and school was in the way." He spoke of going from being a high school dropout to now being a "Platinum-selling" artist.
The video turned out to be much more graphic than the song let on. This graphic depiction, alarmed school district officials, parents and community members who have been seeking to turn around Paterson's previously tarnished image.
Eastside High School is also the same school made popular by the movie Lean On Me, depicting the challenges of then Principal Joe Clark in cleaning up the school. The Paterson School District has been under control of the State of New Jersey for the past 20 years and school leaders have been working to restore the faith parents have in public schools and revive the school's previously tarnished image.
In recent years, Eastside High School has had some success in raising student test scores and graduation rates.
School district officials expressed outrage that the video was allowed to be filmed in the school where Fetty Wap is glorifying dropping out of school and drug use. Fetty Wap, whose real name is Willie Maxwell, dropped out of the high school and came back to the school last year to perform for students.
They maintain that the filming did not go through the proper approval process for facility use and have released an official statement stating that they do not agree with the video's content or the song.
In the opening of the video, Fetty Wap wrote, " Went back to my old high school to shoot this video. A nobody, high school dropout now known worldwide as Fetty Wap. Celebrate everyday, roll something up and define your own path."
Fetty Wap sings, "Get Wiz Khalifah high and meditated over medicated," during one verse.
Moody is a well-liked principal who has strong community ties. However, Board members and community leaders denounced the actions of Moody allowing the rapper into the school without proper approval, citing the content of the video.
In the video, Wap states that he dropped out of school and is now encouraging others to do the same. In, what some see as a mix of inspiration of telling children to follow thier dreams, the video and song seem to depict that it can be accomplished without an education.
Banners and posters can also be seen on the school walls saying, "Go Team Kush," referring to a strain of Marijuana. This is also written on the chalkboard in a classroom of students.
In the video, a woman is seen in a classroom dancing on a stripper pole, another is seen upside down twerking on the wall in short shorts. Twerking is a popular dance move with booty-shaking.
One scene in the video shows a student with a book entitled Ancient Greek Thots on the desk. A 'thot' is a slang word for loose woman. In another scene, a student is drinking a 40-ounce of a drink called 40 Wap.
Toward the end of the video, a woman that many assume to be a teacher takes an apple from her desk and uses it as a bong.
Since the video's release a week ago, school district officials are investigating whether procedures were followed in allowing parts of the video to be recorded inside various rooms at Eastside High School. According to published reports, school district officials stated that the video was filmed after school hours and did not include students.
While some Board members expressed outrage, others were not as sharp with their admonition of the video, citing freedom of speech.