Principal: Grosse Pointe teens circulated racist video

Candice Williams, and Nicquel Terry

School officials are dealing with the second incident since March of racially offensive material circulated by Grosse Pointe South High students.

In a statement to the school community Wednesday, Grosse Pointe South Principal Moussa Hamka said a handful of Grosse Pointe teens, including three students from the school, recorded a video that circulated on social media that included “offensive, racist statements regarding African-Americans.”

“While no specific students or members of our community were mentioned in the video, the comments made are deplorable,” Hamka said.

School administration contacted students and families and are considering what consequences the students will face, officials said.

Several students have told staff members and administrators that they found the video offensive, Hamka said.

“I am confident that this incident will provide South the opportunity to stand with a united voice of love and acceptance for all,” Hamka said. “We will continue to demonstrate that the majority of our students and community members do not accept and will not tolerate such bigotry.”

This is the second incident in recent months in which officials said Grosse Pointe South students circulated racially tinged images via social media.

In March, a group of students was suspended over a photo posted on social media that displayed racial slurs written on their bodies.

Following that incident, the Grosse Pointe-Harper Woods chapter of the NAACP branch said it would work with the Grosse Pointe Public Schools community to promote racial understanding.

Greg Bowens, interim president of the chapter, on Wednesday said many community members were disappointed with the racial comments in the video.

Bowens said he has seen parts of the video and it includes teens sitting on a couch talking about getting rid of African-Americans.

This second incident, he said, proves that overcoming racism in the Grosse Pointe school community will take time.

“At the same time, we are resolute in our belief that there is good that can come from this and that these young people can learn an important lesson about treating people right,” Bowens said. “The reality is, we have to treat each other with dignity and respect.

“It’s better that they learn this lesson now than having to learn it five or 10 years from now when what’s on the line is their job, career, livelihood ... and reputation.”

Hamka said students from the Black Awareness Society for Education club hold weekly meetings and planning sessions.

On Tuesday, the school held a forum moderated by Jay Marks from Oakland Schools.

“Nearly 50 students engaged in meaningful dialogue and strategic planning,” Hamka said. “In recognition of our student voices, we will be expanding opportunities that facilitate a comprehensive approach to celebrating the diversity of our student body.”