The Thug Notes video series uses slang and vulgar language to break down classic works like The Great Gatsby and Romeo and Juliet.
That's not exactly what parents expected to find playing at a summer camp geared toward middle and high schoolers.
15-year-old Landon Schmidt recorded the videos inside a kids' college class at Hillsborough Community College.
Landon’s mom Tracy Schmidt said she found it unbelievable until her son showed her videos he recorded in class with his cell phone.
The videos refer to women in a derogatory fashion.
Hillsborough Community College advertised the camp as teen empowerment week. The curriculum included money matters, study skills and relationship building.
The instructor stuck to the curriculum during our visit. But other students including girls as young as 13 confirmed these videos were shown in class.
After viewing Landon's clips we contacted the administrative offices here at HCC. They refused to answer our questions on camera but sent the following statement.
As discussed on our phone call of 6/22/17, the following recap is being provided by the Institute of Corporate and Continuing Education on behalf of the Teen Empowerment Camp held three weeks ago.
First, ICCE does not, in any way, condone the use of adult language or themes in any of our summer camps. We are extremely disappointed in the poor judgment that was displayed by the camp instructor and immediately took the following actions to ensure such a situation does not happen again:
First, ICCE Executive Director Ryan Buckthorpe met with the instructor who confirmed that he showed the three videos in question. The instructor advised that his intention was to demonstrate how contemporary videos could be used as a means to retain large amounts of content such as the classic works of literature associated with the three videos shown. As was mentioned in our telephone conversation, the instructor did not have prior permission to show this specific content. He was immediately written up for showing content that we deemed inappropriate for teens in that age group.
Vice President for Workforce Development Dr. Ginger Clark and Mr. Buckthorpe also met with the parent who had expressed concern. ICCE emailed the parents of all campers in the Teen Empowerment Camps regarding the viewing of the three videos and their use in the classroom. A copy is provided. To date, we have received only one email in response which was generally positive. Another parent contacted us and indicated that her daughter, in addition to the other campers that you spoke with, were extremely happy with the camp and the content of the videos did not affect their positive experience.
Additionally, ICCE has instituted a policy that all Kids’ College video content must be preapproved before being shown in the classroom. A copy is attached. At the conclusion of the camp, ICCE administered an evaluation to parents following the class. Of the nine surveys that were returned, the results were overwhelmingly positive. Copies have been provided.
To conclude, ICCE did not and does not support the use of the three videos that were used in the Teen Empowerment Camp. ICCE met with the parent to address her specific concerns, disciplined the instructor, notified parents as to the use of the content, as well as implemented a policy that requires a review of any video content being used in our summer camps. We are confident that these actions will ensure that such a situation will not happen again.