KENWOOD — A Kenwood Academy High School music teacher has been suspended after he posted videos online where he slammed Jews, Muslims and other non-Christians and also described a "sleep paralysis" experience during which he was terrorized by what he called a "tranny devil."
Daniel Berry, who teaches general music, electronic music and beginning piano at Kenwood, was suspended earlier this month, parents and students say.
Officials would not confirm whether the suspension and internal investigation was linked to the videos. But students said they brought the videos to the attention of school officials, and Berry stopped showing up to class earlier this month.
"Daniel Berry has been suspended pending the outcome of an internal investigation into potential misconduct," a CPS official said.
In a video posted to Berry's YouTube channel last July, he told of waking up after a "sleep paralysis'' experience that happened after he was handling a figurine he bought in New Orleans, which appeared on camera with him.
In the dream, he said he was approached by a "brown-skinned Latino spray-tanned tranny. It claimed it was there to give the gospel, and stood with its arms outstretched to heaven ... it's face grossly and demonically deformed, ... its eyes pure evil."
He went on to accuse the spirit of being in the room with him when he woke up, but disappeared after Berry "rebuk[ed] him in Jesus's name."
In other videos, including some posted as recently as last week, Berry slammed "internet atheism" — referring to it as a "hate cult" — and wrote in the comment section that "there are only 2 religions in the world: 1. Christianity and 2. cheap impostors." He describes evolution as "evil" and "absurd."
In another video, he says orthodox Jewish rabbis "curl their hair to make them look like serpents, literally, and [molest babies]."
He warns of a larger Jewish conspiracy and says, "if you look at every single dirty business you are going to find Jews there." He did go out of his way to praise his Jewish colleagues, noting, "I work with several hardworking, very sweet, kind intelligent Jewish people." But he said those Jews are not true followers of the religion.
In the same video, he says of Muslims, "their religion is wicked."
In yet another video posted last week, Berry railed against "mass media mind control" and how most shows on television depict "demons and pyramids and sodomy and transvestitism and all kinds of filth."
Reached by phone, Berry declined to comment on his employment status or the videos, citing legal reasons.
However, he says he wasn't fired from his $51,000-a-year teaching job.
"I'm still a Kenwood employee," he said.
At a Local School Council meeting last week at the school's campus at 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., there was no mention of Berry's employment status. After the meeting, school principal Gregory Jones declined to comment.
"I'm not at liberty to discuss that at this time," he said.
Members of the LSC also declined to comment.
The videos have been widely shared among the 1,700 students at the school, who are in 7th-12th grade.
A student in one of Berry's classes said the teacher always treated him and his classmates with respect.
"I guess he just took his religion to another level," said the student, who believes that Berry might have gotten into trouble for filming on school grounds.
However, a parent of a Kenwood upperclassman expressed concern over the way the issue was handled.
"My son showed me the videos a couple of weeks ago," said the parent, who asked not to be named. "They were creepy. It's shocking to see someone saying these things in the 21st century."
The following school day, her son sent a text informing her that Berry wasn't at work.
"The school didn't inform us at all, and I need to know what's going on, for my child," said the parent. Still, she described Berry as a "regular teacher with great school pride." According to her son, a new music teacher has taken over the class.
After reaching out to several school staffers, the parent said she spoke with a teacher who told her about Berry's alleged behavior in the teacher's lounge.
"She said he would come in there talking about his church and his views and it would be very uncomfortable," said the parent.
However, parents and students knew of no instances where he discussed his religious views with students.
CPS spokesman Michael Passman said, "CPS is committed to ensuring all employees meet the District's high standards for personal and professional conduct. The District does not comment on specific personnel matters."
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