ACLU calls for apology from school district after students chant - WNEM TV 5

ACLU calls for apology from school district after students chant 'build the wall' at lunch

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ROYAL OAK, MI (WNEM) -

Video of some Michigan students shouting “build the wall” while in the cafeteria has gone viral.

The video was taken the week of elections during lunch hour at Royal Oak Middle School.

The phrase “build the wall” was often chanted at Donald Trump rallies across the country during his campaign after he said he planned to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

The person who posted the video, Dee Perez-Scott, said “It is so sad. Latino children were crying. The taunts, the 'build that wall' with such bullying power and hate from children to children. Just Horrifying!”

Royal Oak Schools have commented on the issue saying when the students started chanting school personnel responded. It also said the district is committed to providing a safe and secure learning environment for all students. Read the full statement here.

Lansing, MI - Agustin V. Arbulu, Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, has issued the following statement in response to reports of bias incidents in Michigan schools:

“As the Director of the Department of Civil Rights, I am gravely concerned about recent reports of harassment in Michigan schools and colleges targeting students of color or of a different race or ethnicity. We urge schools and parents throughout the state to be vigilant and to intervene immediately when incidents such as the one in Royal Oak take place. The Department has an obligation to act when individuals are harassed or intimidated due to their ethnicity, race, color or disability. Our investigators are prepared to take complaints and to fully investigate any claims. Most importantly, we want schools and colleges to know that we are here as a resource, ready to do whatever we can to assist them in preventing such incidents from happening, and to help with the healing process if they do.”

On Nov. 17 the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to the superintendent of Royal Oak Schools calling for an apology to the offended students.

“As abhorrent, hurtful and wrong as this kind of action is, we don’t think children should be demonized for this sort of behavior, especially when it’s likely that they’re just repeating what they’ve heard at campaign rallies, on the news or in their own homes,” said Mark Fancher, staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan’s Racial Justice Project. “We think the district has an obligation to show these children the harm in their actions and to teach the importance and value of respecting the history and culture of others.”

The superintendent, Shawn Lewis-Lakin, reached out to ACLU shortly after receiving the letter.

The ACLU said Lewis-Lakin expressed a sincere commitment to addressing the problems.

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