Several students at a southeast Michigan high school are facing disciplinary action after they allegedly sent Tweets celebrating their “all white” team’s victory – some carrying hash tags such as #HitlerIsMyDad and #kkk – in the Class A regional boys’ basketball final Thursday.
As a result, school and community officials are scrambling to do damage control, pointing out that the actions of a handful of teenagers aren’t a new chapter in an unflattering history that many in Howell – the home of a grand dragon for the Ku Klux Klan who hosted cross burnings at his home before he died in 1992 – would rather forget
The high school principal at Howell High School, which scored a 54-49 win over Grand Blanc, says he’s aware of the Tweets and the school district is following up with disciplinary measures, MLive/The Flint Journal reports.
"The school has responded to each instance and is moving forward," Principal Jason Schrock said, declining to elaborate on what disciplinary action is being taken.
Among the Tweets:
"Not only did we beat Grand Blanc but we're all white. Howell's the definite winner tonight."
"All hail white power. #HitlerIsMyDad"
"Tonight was probably one of the most racists nights of my life. I heard so many slurs and expressions. I also said a few things..."
Kevon Miller, a senior guard for the Grand Blanc team, said he wasn’t surprised by the racial tenor of the Tweets. The two teams faced each other twice during the season and racial slurs were shouted in both games, he said. He said he heard “the N-word” hurled by a Howell student “a couple of times” during the regional final.
Miller said the offensive slurs came from the stands and not from members of the Howell basketball team.
“It’s frustrating,” he told The Flint Journal, “but you’ve got to put it to the side.”
"It's sad," Howell boys’ basketball head coach Nick Simon said. "We definitely aren't going to let one or two people's statements speak for a community, or our athletics or our student body. We have 2,800 kids and it's unfortunate that one or two can misrepresent us so much."
Normal Abdella, superintendent of the more racially diverse Grand Blanc school district, said in an email to The Flint Journal that it’s “hard to believe that the racial banality expressed through those messages even exists in this day and age.”
He said he trusts Howell school officials to act appropriately in addressing the situation.
"I have great confidence that no one in authority within the Howell School District would ever encourage or condone these types of sentiments and expect that they will effectively deal with this situation internally,” he wrote in the statement.
Schrock hopes the social media donnybrook that involved only a few teens won’t undo that progress that has been made to put Howell’s unfortunate legacy with the KKK in the past.
"A life lesson can be learned for these students without dragging a community's reputation through the mud," he said.
Some mea culpas have shown up in Twitter feeds:
"All the (expletive) that was said tonight was not OK, and for that I apologize."
"To whoever still didn't see my apology last night, I really am sorry."
"It was a joke."Some Grand Blanc students said they thought the apologies should be made in person.