NewsLocal NewsKzoo/BCKalamazoo

Actions

Portage Central student suspended after 'racist, threatening' video

Posted at 2:26 PM, Dec 17, 2019

PORTAGE, Mich. — A Portage Central High School student has been suspended for posting a "racist and threatening" video on Snapchat.

In the video, the student repeatedly uses a racial slur, pulls out a handgun and points it at the camera while wearing a Portage Central soccer sweatshirt.

In a statement, Principal Eric Alburtus said the district strongly condemns the student’s behavior and the use of the racial slurs.

“Our number-one job is to make sure all of our students are safe and feel safe. When ugly statements like the one shared this weekend are associated with Portage Central, it hurts all of us — and reminds us that we must do better,” the statement says. “We must acknowledge our struggles, we must continue to commit to working harder and more intentionally to combat racism, and we must do all that we can to protect and to respect our students of color.”

Alburtus said the school is working with the Portage Department of Public Safety.

Portage Deputy Chief John Blue said they are investigating the situation to determine if the student will be charged with a crime. Blue said they are determining if the message was hate speech, which is protected by law, or if he can be charged with making a intimidation or making a threat.

Police determined there was no imminent threat of the boy planning to hurt anyone.

Alburtus' full statement can be read below:

“It has been a difficult morning for our community. Recently, a Portage Central student created a racist and threatening video that was then shared with many students here and throughout southwest Michigan. We strongly condemn this behavior and the use of these words in all situations. And we are deeply sorry for the hurt that they have caused in our community. We are grateful that so many students and community members reached out to us quickly so that we could respond immediately. We are also working closely with the Portage Police Department.

Our number-one job is to make sure all of our students are safe and feel safe. When ugly statements like the one shared this weekend are associated with Portage Central, it hurts all of us — and reminds us that we must do better. We must acknowledge our struggles, we must continue to commit to working harder and more intentionally to combat racism, and we must do all that we can to protect and to respect our students of color.”