Eastside High School principal Zatiti Moody failed to follow school district’s policies and regulations in allowing rapper Fetty Wap to film music video that depicted drug use and a pole dancer, according to an independent investigation report.
“I conclude that Mr. Moody was solely responsible for permitting the video shoot to occur at Eastside High. In authorizing the video shoot, Mr. Moody did not follow all of the requirements of board policy and regulation,” reads the investigation report by John Wallace, Jr. of Westmont-based law firm Brown and Connery.
The rapper’s production company — Pomp & Clout — was not assessed the normal usage fee for the school facility because a school affiliated organization – Home School Council — was listed as the user of the Park Avenue school building, according to the report that was provided to school board members earlier in the month.
Wallace states the production company should have paid the appropriate fees for use of the building on the night of May 12th and morning of 14th, 2016. The company donated $500 to the Eastside Booster Club at Moody’s direction, according to the report.
In his report, Wallace recommended superintendent Donnie Evans take appropriate disciplinary measure against the principal, who has been on paid leave since June 1st, 2016. He also recommended the school board amend policies to strengthen them against a similar incident.
School board member Kenneth Simmons, who sits on the school board’s policy committee, said new polices are being wrought to prevent a similar episode. “There have to be clear example of what acceptable use is. That’s not there right now. We have to come up with clear examples,” he said.
Simmons said that’s why he did not want to place blame on any of the administrators because the situation emerged as a result of opaque policy on the district’s part.
“It was clearly an issue with policy,” said Simmons.
Board member Errol Kerr agreed that policies have to be revised to prevent a similar occurrence. He said both mayor Jose “Joey” Torres and Evans’ support of the rapper’s summer concert last year may have given the impression it was acceptable for Moody to allow Wap, whose real name is Willie Maxwell, to film his music video at Eastside High School.
Wap attended Eastside High School, but did not graduate, according to the report.
“It’s reckless for us to jump on this guy,” said Kerr speaking about Moody. “He needs to be reprimanded, but he needs to be given opportunity too.” He suggested Moody was very likely following the superintendent’s example.
Evans approved the use of some district security for Wap’s free summer concert at Bauerle Field, according to the report. He also allowed John F. Kennedy High School to be designated as the rain site for the concert.
Moody has been principal of operations at Eastside High School since 2009. “He has a track record. We have nobody that commands the same respect at Eastside High School as Mr. Moody,” said Kerr.
There was a big outpouring of support for Moody after the superintendent placed him on paid leave.
District spokeswoman Terry Corallo did not say what Moody’s current employment status is with the district – whether his suspension has been lifted. She said the superintendent has great confidence in Moody as principal of operations at the high school.
Corallo said the superintendent looks forward to Moody’s return to continue the positive work that has occurred over the past 6 years.