Students at the Washtenaw International Middle Academy are still reeling after six students received a racist email to their school-issued email addresses.
Devin Francois said that her daughter, a seventh grader at the school, had stayed home from school since the Jan. 29 email because was terrified that she would have to interact with the person who sent the email.
“I was definitely blown away by some of the language that was used (in the email),” Francois told The Ann Arbor News and MLive. “It’s raising a lot of anxiety for my child, a lot of uncertainty and fear.”
Francois also noted that all six of the students who were sent the email were Black.
Francois and another parents have decided to take their complaints to the school board.
“I’m uncomfortable sending my child to school,” a parent told the school board. “He’s uncomfortable being at school. He’s sick to his stomach. He doesn’t want to be there. He’s in fear of what could possibly happen.”
The email in question reportedly contained racist language and profanity. It also read “Go trump!!!!!!!” with seven skull-and-crossbones emojis.
Students and the school respond
On Tuesday, Feb. 6, several other students staged a sit-in at the school to protest not just the email but other racist incidents at the school.
Principal Nhu Do responded to the sit-in by commending the students for their “courageous leadership” after meeting with them following the sit-in.
“In this time of division and fear, we are deeply committed to promoting peace and love, reflection and forgiveness, inclusion and equity. And we need students and parents to be a part of the conversation,” Do wrote.
Sherrell Hobbs, assistant superintendent for Ypsilanti Schools, said that the school is taking action to identify the source of the email. The IT department is looking at the email, which came from a gmail address. They have also contacted law enforcement about the incident.
“We’re looking at (the email) in a very discriminate type of way to make sure that whoever has done this, and I say that emphatically, that they are held to the highest (consequences) that this board would allow,” Hobbs said at Monday’s board meeting.