Grand Haven: Feds Investigate Racial Intimidation, Students Disciplined

Posted at 10:43 PM, Mar 02, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-02 22:56:56-05

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — A federal investigation is taking place after reports of racial intimidation in a local school district.

Since fall 2012, Grand Haven Public Schools’ superintendent said five incidents have been reported and a group of students were disciplined.

However, the Ottawa County Sheriff`s Department and the US Department of Education are conducting their own investigations.

Superintendent Keith Konarska said the district has confirmed three of those incidents. Some occurred on schools grounds and others on the school bus.

Konarska said one involved a student wearing a hat with the letters KKK written on it. Another incident involved a student writing the n-word on a school bus window.

FOX 17 spoke with the father of the bi-racial student who reported the complaints. He said his daughter has been the target of sexist and racist remarks, with students allegedly talking about her hair, skin and calling her the n-word.

The superintendant said this is something the district is taking extremely seriously.

“This is absolutely unacceptable in our district and our expectations for our students are much greater,” Konarska said in a phone interview.

“Our hope is that moving forward, everybody involved in this incident can become more understanding, accepting and tolerant of differences and appreciate the benefits of being a part of a diverse world,” he added.

The superintendent said he hopes students can learn from this incident, from a disciplinary standpoint and an educational one.

The district partners with “Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance.” The organization provides training for staff and students that Konarska hopes will help everyone celebrate diversity in the community.

FOX 17 will continue to follow this story.