Racial Harassment at One of Michigan’s Wealthiest Schools

An 8th grader at Bloomfield Hills Middle School recorded two of his classmates calling him a “dirty nigger” on the school bus, but the school doesn’t seem to be taking it all that seriously. Bloomfield Hills is one of the wealthiest and whitest cities in the state of Michigan.

Instead of being in school Monday with classmates at Bloomfield Hills Middle School, 8th-grader Phoenix Williams was home working to keep up on assignments.

He’s too scared to return to school.

“I really don’t feel safe going back to school, at all, because both of them are going to be there,” he said.

Phoenix is talking about the two classmates he videotaped calling the n-word. They were suspended but those close to the case say both students returned to class on Monday.

As for the Bloomfield Hills School District, the superintendent said action was taken but the punishment will not be revealed.

If those kids were back in school on Monday, they sure as hell weren’t punished enough. And this all went on when there were two adult chaperones on the bus, along with the driver. Absolutely appalling. And I sure can’t blame the kid for not wanting to go back. To call that environment unsafe would be an understatement.

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  • samgardner

    It’s not entirely clear to me how long the suspension was for, nor how much punishment is actually appropriate. Personally I’m not really a fan of Out of School suspension as a “punishment”.

    Chaperones actually can’t duct-tape students’ mouths, so I’m not sure how you’d expect them to prevent this from happening. I guess one would have to know more about the incident to know whether the chaperones were at some fault here for other reasons (size of the bus, whether they’d been chaperones long, why the kid was prepared to videotape the incident, etc.). The driver is almost certainly ignoring everything the kids say.

    The family seems to want expulsion. I doubt that’s going to happen, unless they can show this was an ongoing pattern of intimidation.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    To be fair, there are two sides to every story. This story leaves questions unanswered. “What was this urban person doing in the white section of the bus?”, for example. I just saw on FoxNews that the suspended kids are terrified that the urban kid’s hiphop parents are going to bring their rapster gang to shoot them with their gang guns and get them addicted to the drugs, and also Fox ‘n’ Friends were asking what happened to the kids’ Free Speech rights anyway? Limbaugh said the kids were lucky the urban thug didn’t murder them with his Obamaphone as Reparations, and Geraldo said they were lucky he was unarmed, as he could’ve been hiding anything in his baggy pants and cornrows and that, legally, they were firmly in Stand Your Ground territory. Even the Mainstream Media is involved, asking why Hillary hasn’t denounced him yet.

  • lofgren

    If those kids were back in school on Monday, they sure as hell weren’t punished enough.

    That’s like saying that if they still have their thumbs, they weren’t punished enough. There are other, better ways to punish students than cutting off their thumbs and there are other, better ways to punish students and, far more importantly, address the issue of racism at the school than suspending students.

    Kids will be kids. They will experiment with behaviors that adults find appalling, including bullying and racist taunts. The question of how best to address that is by no means easy and may even vary from generation to generation, or even from student to student. If my kid ever got caught behaving like this, I can tell you the school wouldn’t have to punish her because you can be damn sure I would make sure she knew what she did wrong and never forgot it. Another parent, that might not be the case and the school might have to take more action to hopefully make the lesson stick. And that is just one variable at play here.

    The student who was taunted says that he doesn’t “feel safe” returning to school as long as the bullies are there. That is obviously a serious issue. But it’s important to understand what he means by that and what he is afraid of.

    To be clear, I’m not saying that the school should not take this seriously. I’m just objecting to the equation of “serious” = “long suspension.”

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    For an 8th grader to say that, they learned it from their parents. So nobody should be shocked that the parents are pieces of shit; we should pity their children for being raised by filthy bigots.

  • lofgren

    That’s not a safe conclusion at all. Do you have an eighth grader? Do they only say things you approve of? If so, yours is the only one.

  • ambassadorfromverdammt

    This story says nothing at all about the parents. They may be as appalled as I am. My first encounter with racism was in the first grade from other first graders. By the 8th grade, peers have had a significant impact on a person’s attitudes.

  • marcus

    I’m with lofgren on most of this. It is not safe to assume the parents are bigots, even though it is certainly possible (and maybe even probable). Eighth graders, however, get around a lot, and have a lot of different sources for anti-social language and memes, it is also worth noting the fact that using that word in such an aggressive manner is an issue in itself.

    I also agree with his thoughts on punishment, this is a complex situation and needs to be dealt with effectively and decisively, the response needs to be approached in a complete and thoughtful manner, not just “punishment = x number of days suspension”, IMO

    I do think Ed was saying that the response by the school itself was obviously insufficient, not just that they needed more days suspension.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    It is not safe to assume the parents are bigots, even though it is certainly possible (and maybe even probable)

    Uh, yeah, whatever: “maybe even probable”

  • lofgren

    The school is refusing to say what the students’ punishment consisted of. The only piece of info we have is that they were back on Monday. (And when did this incident happen again? The article doesn’t even say.) If Ed has inside info he should share it, not expect us to take his word for it.

  • marcus

    Marcus Ranum @ 8 Sorry, it is the assumption thing. My father was an unapologetic bigot and racist all his life, my mother was sympathetic to black people and forward thinking, but probably still a bigot by any objective standard. That kind of behavior never appealed to me.

    Conversely, I know that several of the parents of the worst of the little racists and bullies that made my high school years a living hell, would have been appalled at their behavior.

    Just sayin’.

  • jonathangray
  • Chiroptera

    jonathangray, #11:

    Three years ago, and nothing about it since.

    How did that story turn out? It seems even the rightwing bloggers forgot all about it pretty quickly. I’m guessing that the story wasn’t at all like they were portraying, but, then, my google skills aren’t very good.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com WMDKitty — Survivor

    Hold a school-wide assembly to publicly name and shame the little bigots, and then expel them, effective immediately.

  • Lady Mondegreen

    You must admit jonathangray makes an important point, Chiroptera. All over this land, white children are being set afire by black children, due to the teaching of black history and the reckless insistence of people like Ed on publicizing white-on-black racism. Oh, and postage stamps.

  • colnago80

    Re #14

    Jonathan Gray is a Phalangist asshole, an admirer of the late and unlamented Francisco Franco. The American Thinker, whose thinking skills are on a par with Don Black, is just the sort of sites that racist pricks like him frequent.

  • jonathangray

    “Truth sounds like hate to those who hate truth.”

  • marcus

    I’m glad you realize that colnago80 is just telling the truth and doesn’t really hate you. (Despise maybe.)