Grand Haven School District racism investigation

2:08 AM, Mar 4, 2013   |    comments
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GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WZZM) -- The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights is investigating the Grand Haven School District for alleged racist bullying.

WZZM sat down with three interracial families involved in those alleged incidents. Those families claim their children are the target of racist comments at Grand Haven High School. And the parents say the school isn't doing enough to end the harassment.

Katie Bridgeforth and Dystany Dunn, both freshman, say racist comments have made school unbearable. 

Bridgeforth says, "I was sitting out in the hallway and taking my test and this dude was like-- hey slave, hey slave, you picking any cotton lately?" 

Dunn also shared her experience saying, "These dudes (on the bus) were like why don't you sit at the back of the bus and then they called us the 'n' word and said all this sexual stuff."

Amber Love says her son also came home complaining about a student in the lunchroom and asked the school to see surveillance video. 

Love says, "So we proceeded to watch the video and you see this kid walking with a white coned cap on his head."

All the students and parents in this situation say the school did little to address the issue.

Love says, "I think they did identify him but they never punished him." 

Parents filed a complaint with the US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. While the school is being investigated the district's superintendent says they're taking action. 

Keith Konarska, Superintendent of Grand Haven says, "This is behavior that we find unacceptable and are cooperating fully with authorities investigating this, approaching disciplinary perspective as well as education perspective."

Still that action may be too slow for parents and students who want results. 

Lisa Hall, mother of Katie Bridgeforth says, "I think it's bullying and discrimination and racism at school and it's time to open up dialogue about it."

If the Department of Education finds the school negligent, it could face penalties. The school says it's working with diversity programming. 

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