MARYSVILLE, Mich. – Parents of two students at Marysville Middle School say their children have been subjected to racial intimidation, and that escalated to a fight this month.
According to the parents, the two students were reportedly suspended after getting into a fight on Nov. 10 with another student who allegedly made threats and used racial slurs. The student accused of slurs reportedly threatened to bring KKK family members to school to harm Black students.
Marysville Public Schools Superintendent Shawn Wightman confirmed this week that the district is actively investigating the use of racial slurs and alleged threats of violence.
“The safety and well-being of our students are our highest priorities,” Wightman said. “As part of our investigation, we are collecting statements from all involved parties, including witnesses and those directly affected by the incident.”
It was unknown how long the students were suspended for, and if the student accused of threatening violence was also suspended. District officials say they can’t share more specific information regarding what disciplinary action was taken for the students involved in the fight.
The parents of the students, who spoke to Local 4 on the phone and did not wish to be identified, say their daughters have long experienced racial intimidation at school, and by one student in particular. Kevin Watkins, president of the local NAACP chapter in Port Huron, said in a statement that the group is “very aware” of ongoing race-related issues present in the district, “especially [at] the middle school.”
“We are working with the administration to begin to take steps to not only bring about change regarding the individual complaints that have been brought to our attention, but to begin to create change to the systemic issues that have been ingrained in this district for years,” Watkins said.
The incident, and the alleged ongoing problems, is causing concern among parents in the community. It’s been 10 days since the incident occurred, and little information has been shared from the district.
“It doesn’t make sense why it isn’t being handled immediately,” said parent Gary Lokers. “If we don’t stand up for injustice, injustice will breed more injustice.”
The district says it is continuing to investigate the situation in hopes of reaching a fair and just solution.
“Unfortunately, systemic change does not happen fast or easy, but we are prepared to see this through and ensure we create not only a change for the few families that have reported to the Port Huron Branch NAACP, but to ensure we create a system-wide change, so we do not have more youth subject to the atrocities that have happened in this district,” Watkins said. “We will do our best to hold the district and everyone who is involved accountable to the highest level.”
You can watch Pamela Osborne’s report on this below.