BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. (WXYZ) — "Students were harmed under my watch, and for that, I am sorry,” said Bloomfield Hills High School Principal Charlie Hollerith.
Hollerith and other district representatives talked face-to-face with parents, who all have concerns after a number of racist messages began circulating in the school.
“It’s important to listen carefully to what the students have to say,” said Superintendent Pat Watson to the crowd.
The meeting filled the school cafeteria and included break-out groups with students and parents. All of them are worried about safety after some of the threats, which include one written on a bathroom wall, threatened violence against black students.
“'I said is this 2021 or is this 1959,'" said parent Derek Albert. "It’s unacceptable. Totally unacceptable in 2021.”
The message was shocking to parents like Albert, who worries for the safety of his daughter. He and other parents feel the severity of the threat is being minimized.
“If you have messages that say 'kill all black people,' what are you doing about that threat? Have you addressed the student body to say in the event that something happens this is the plan to evacuate the building, this is the plan, this is the safety measures in place, nothing has been told to us,” Albert said.
The police and the school say they’re investigating the messages, with the most recent one being shared on Monday. Some parents at the meeting came prepared.
Trek Carethers, also an attorney, drafted a 6-page memo with demands for the district. He says right now, he doesn’t feel safe with his son in the school.
“I'm not here to blame the administration, I'm not here to call anyone racist or engage in that rhetoric, I'm not here to demand the expulsion of any particular student," Carethers said. "Why I'm here is we want change. We want effective change, that’s why I'm here.”
These parents, while thankful for the conversation, want more action to be done to make sure their kids are safe in Bloomfield Hills schools.
“We need the State to come in," Albert said. "I've already contacted the Department of Education Civil Rights division to come in, and if the district doesn’t want to move we’ll file a lawsuit against them. Because title 6 funding is at play, taxpayer dollars is at play, and our safety is at play.”
School administrators declined to be interviewed after the meeting and said due to privacy laws they cannot disclose what, if any, punishments have been handed down in response to the messages.
Bloomfield Township Police are asking anyone with information to come forward.