GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP) - Some West Michigan residents want a school district to adopt a clearer policy against harassment following complaints about racial intimidation at a high school that started last year and led to suspensions or expulsions.
Local and federal investigations are ongoing, the Grand Haven Tribune reported. According to a response to the newspaper's Freedom of Information Act request, the federal Office of Civil Rights has asked for video surveillance and communication from the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years.
Two Grand Haven High School students reported that they were harassed while on a school bus in February. There also have been complaints that some students used racial slurs and donned apparel similar to that worn by Ku Klux Klan members.
About 30 people attended a community meeting at the school on Tuesday organized by the Lakeshore Alliance for Ethnic Diversity, The Muskegon Chronicle reported. School officials said the incidents were concerning and unacceptable.
"What a filthy atrocity," said Vicki Lynn Nelson, who was among those at the event. "Why has this gone on for months? Why is this auditorium so empty? I don't understand. I'm so horrified at what has happened. I don't pay tax dollars to let this go on for five months."
The high school notified parents in February about incidents at the school following media coverage, and some say parents should have been told sooner.
Grand Haven Area Public Schools Superintendent Keith Konarska said the incidents were "embarrassing" for the school and the community. At the event, Konarska repeatedly thanked community members for their comments and input, even when they were critical of the administration.
Six students received discipline ranging from short-term suspension to expulsion, he said. A criminal investigation has also been launched into the reported bus harassment. Grand Haven is located along Lake Michigan, about 30 miles northwest of Grand Rapids.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.