Students Suspended After Racist Photo Goes Viral

A group of Michigan high school students have been suspended after school officials discovered a picture of them with the N-word written across their stomachs on social media.

Grosse Pointe South High School Superintendent Gary Niehaus said the picture was taken at an off-campus party in March, WJBK reported. The photo was posted on social media and went viral.

"I was really, really disgusted by it," Phelan Johnson, a student at Grosse Pointe South High School, told WJBK. "I was not happy. I just think that the people who go to this school are getting a good education and that this isn't a result of stupidity, it's a result of racism."

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The students in the picture were reported to school officials -- which led to another problem.

"The threats were basically around the whole idea of snitches and why did you tell on these four?" Niehaus explained.

All four students in the photo, and two students who engaged in threatening behavior, were suspended for five days.

"I think that they should be suspended but I also think that there should be more discussion about it and discussion about racial awareness," Johnson said.

Police are also investigating the photo and a letter was sent home to parents from school officials regarding the incident. The letter stated, according to Deadline Detroit:

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.

Sources: WJBK, Deadline Detroit / Photo Credit: WJBK, Deadline Detroit

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