BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) — Hundreds of students at Bloomfield Hills High walked out of school Friday afternoon to protest a series of racist incidents that have taken place recently and over time.
Just this week, someone scrawled "Kill all n******" in a restroom where the entire racist slur was spelled out.
"I've been called the n-word a couple times before," said student Asia Hughes who took part in the protest.
Ninth-grader Madison Williams said she can't understand why anyone would threaten or seek to hurt and make their peers feel unsafe. She and others have pointed to racist videos that have been posted on social media by teens they said also attend their school.
"I've never done anything to offend anyone," Williams told 7 Action News. "I've never said a slur to anyone, especially on school grounds. So I don't understand what the tolerance is about either when it comes to leadership."
Williams referring to what she and others say has been a dismissive response to the problem by school administrators.
Student Grace Franklin is one of the organizers of Friday's walkout.
"As a black girl, I feel unsafe," Franklin told reporters. "And I feel like that the punishments that they gave for the people that are perpetrating these crimes, like, literal hate crimes here, are not sufficient."
District officials declined requests to do an on-camera interview and only released a statement that indicated they were aware of the racist hate speech that was left in the restroom and that Bloomfield Township Police were going to assist them in their investigation.
"We are hosting a Community Collaboration Event to move anti-racism work forward on Tuesday, November 16 at 6 p.m. at Bloomfield Hills High School," the statement read. "We recognize that we need help from our community and that there is significant work to do."
"Racial slurs is a big thing, almost normalized and makes me very uncomfortable," said Rieley Zelten, 16, who said white students tell her the n-word while asking for a pass to say it as if it's a joke. "Whenever I say, hey, you know, don't do that, I'm all of a sudden being the aggressive black person, you know, I'm being aggressive and I'm being too sensitive."
Late Friday afternoon, Patrick Watson, Superintendent of Bloomfield Hills Schools, released this video statement: