Racism is still alive.
Six Grosse Pointe South High students are suspended for five days over an Instagram photo showing them with the n-word painted on their stomachs, The Detroit News and other media report.
The photo (above) was shared on Twitter by an offended African-American senior, Tia Fowlkes, who said she wanted "to spread awareness of this racism," according to a post at The Tower Pulse, an online news service run by students at the school.
Two girls and a boy lift their shirts in a basement recreation room to reveal the n-word iwritten with a Sharpie. The fourth student has a message on her leg supporting pot.
All four were disciplined Monday by Principal Moussa Hamka. Two other teens are suspended for "threats, intimidation directed towards students who spoke up," according to the school.
In a letter to parents and students posted on the school website, school officials write:
Early Sunday afternoon, it came to our attention that a South student posted a picture on social media displaying racially inappropriate and offensive language, specifically the “n” word. While the school cannot regulate off campus activities, we will not be silent in the face of racially intolerant language. The Student Code of Conduct does task administration with monitoring student behavior that impacts our learning environment, even if that behavior occurs outside of the school day. . . .
We realize that the consequences put in place do not fully address the underlying issue. We are committed to continuing the work necessary to create a safe environment for all students. Today, South administration facilitated a dialogue between several of the students involved as well as the leaders of our Black Awareness Society for Education (BASE) student group. This dialogue created a starting point for our healing process as we move forward. This group of students shares the following message:
“We have come together and are committed to a unified response that leads to awareness,acceptance and education. We want to send a clear message that hateful language and violence are never acceptable. This meeting left us optimistic that we can come together in unity. We will work to collectively move our school community forward.”
Members of the school's year-old Black Awareness Society for Education (BASE) met with at least some of the students being disciplined Monday. "They are apologizing willingly," said a tweet by The Tower Pulse student online news service, which paraphrases the principal:
This conversation about race will not stop, Hamka said. Weekly meetings and progress reports will occur.— The Tower Pulse (@TheTowerPulse) March 14, 2016
The four students would like to further BASE's mission through outreach, they said.— The Tower Pulse (@TheTowerPulse) March 14, 2016
These are among local comments on Twitter:
Grosse Pointe South at its finest. https://t.co/GbX4PhTdRg— Alanna Rae (@alanna__sparks) March 14, 2016
Grosse pointe south need better history teachers straight up.— UNK (@reub_simpson) March 14, 2016
Grosse Pointe South is an excellent school. My kids went on to excel. Don't paint the entire community because of this stupidity.— David Dawson (@jesicarian) March 15, 2016