School officials at DeWitt Junior High School in Michigan are investigating claims of at least three racially-motivated incidents at the school on Wednesday, including claims that students formed a human wall and blocked minority classmates from getting to class, following Donald Trump’s election the previous night, the Lansing State Journal is reporting.
Corina Gonzalez, the parent of a Latina child at the school, says that there is plenty of racism in the overwhelmingly white community in the Lansing suburbs.
“I was born and raised in DeWitt. Racism is something that happens in DeWitt. It’s primarily a Caucasian community, so racism is going to happen, but it’s not supposed to happen in the schools and it’s not supposed to be tolerated.”
A Michigan mother says that racism should not be tolerated among schoolchildren. [Image by Zurijeta/Shutterstock]
Nevertheless, it appears that racism was alive and well among the kids at Dewitt Junior High School on Wednesday.
According to DeWitt Public Schools Superintendent John Deiter, the first racial incident began early in the morning, before most of the kids had even started showing up. At about 7:05 a.m., “two or three” boys laid down on the floor in a hallway and linked arms, as if building a metaphorical human wall.
— J-Dez (@supertussin) November 10, 2016
Since the boys were alone and apparently not bothering anybody, a teacher broke up the display and sent the kids on their way without disciplining them.
“They were parallel in the hallway, not blocking it. Nobody’s progress was impeded, nobody was not allowed to pass, nothing was said to any other students.”
Two other, similar incidents then took place as the school day progressed. DeWitt officials, however, a being circumspect about what, specifically, took place. Deiter would only say that a second incident took place involving kids locking arms, and a third incident resulted in a student being “blocked by other students.”
Gonzalez tells the Ann Arbor News that it was her daughter who was blocked by the human wall. She says that a group of boys blocked her from going to her locker, telling her to “go back to her country” and that they (the boys) were going to “make America great again.”
What’s more, Gonzalez says that she hasn’t gotten satisfaction from school officials. She met twice with them on Wednesday, and she says she was assured that the students who made racist comments have been identified, but that officials would neither tell her who they were or tell her how — or even if — they were disciplined.
“I don’t feel like I can give my daughter the justice she deserves if I can’t show her that the people who use these actions are facing the consequences.”
Another mother of a DeWitt student, Kellie Demmers, claims her daughter, who is Asian American, was told by another student that she should be deported. She also claims that school officials chided her for taking her complaints to social media.
“They thought they were just going sweep this under the rug and I’m not the sort of parent that is going to let that happen.”
In an email sent to DeWitt parents Wednesday, School Principal Keith Cravotta made it clear that he wants students to feel safe at their school.
“We plan to address them [these incidents] very specifically, and we will also address them broadly to prevent further incidents and to make sure that all of our students feel safe and accepted at school.”
Do you believe that the DeWitt Junior High School students who formed human walls and hassled their classmates should be punished?
[Featured Image by Matty Symons/Shutterstock]