Four Grosse Pointe, Michigan, high school students have been suspended a week after a photo with the N-word written on them surfaced from an off-campus party.
According to various Michigan news outlets, the four white teens — students at Grosse Pointe South High — were at a party over the weekend when a photo of them wearing a racial slur on their bellies went viral.
Grosse Pointe schools Superintendent Gary Niehaus said Monday that the photo pictured four students. Three of them had the N-word written on their stomachs. The male in the picture had a heart on his stomach and a smiley face, stating ‘I heart n—–s.’ The fourth student only had a heart and a comment about marijuana written on her knee.
The photo went viral this past Sunday because their peers called them out on their racist behavior. Twitter user Tia Lee was made fun of because she told one of the girls in the photo that this type of thing is not cool.
When they just won't admit they're racist?? & then trying to tell me I'm racist for calling them out on their shit? pic.twitter.com/LvMlR1u3m2
— tia lee (@tiaa____) March 13, 2016
The school system released a statement acknowledging the callousness of the racial incident:
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 [Monday], 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.”
In the days following the incident, one of the girls in the photo took to Instagram to apologize for what she and her friends did:
“I’m wrong in every sense and that word shouldn’t be thrown around like we did,” she wrote. “I’m not a racist, I just made a poor decision, but that doesn’t reflect on who I actually am. … If I could take it all back I would, but I can’t and now I’m taking the consequences.”
The school system is now collaborating with Grosse Pointe South senior Miracle Bailey, president of the Black Awareness Society for Education student group.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the school and BASE are planning future events to address this issue and prevent it from happening again.