Community leaders easing tension after students post racially-charged photo on social media

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Six Grosse Pointe South students were suspended over photos posted on social media showing racial slurs scrawled on their skin. Now, community leaders are coming together to ease tensions between the student body and their parents.

Community Members Against Racism gathered at Grosse Pointe South High School to thank school administrators for their quick action after a troubling post this weekend to social media.

"We will not tolerate in our community anybody being prejudiced against or acting in a bigoted fashion," said Greg Bowens, spokesperson. "Because it is disruptive to the school environment."

The students were suspended five days after the post surfaced on Instagram, showing three of them, all Caucasian, with the n word written across their torsos. It was directed toward the African-American students at the school.

Before these students thought better and took the post down, it had already been shared to Facebook and Twitter, sparking outrage and threats.

"It is a word that does not merit presence in any situation," said David Smydra, vice president of the Grosse Pointe/Harper Woods NAACP branch.

The hope is that this incident will be used as a learning experience for schools across the county, that when something is posted to social media, it's out there for good.

Miracle Bailey, a senior at the high school, received praise for being one of the students to denounce the post.

"Just think before you post anything," Bailey said. "Get approval from a friend or any other person first, and of course, never post hateful speech. Because it will follow you."

Bailey describes Grosse Pointe South as being usually harmoniously diverse.

She was shocked to see the post linked to fellow students, describing Grosse Pointe South high, as harmoniously diverse.

"I have seen pictures similarly to that with southern schools," Bailey said. "I never thought in a million years, it would ever be my school."

A representative from the Attorney General's Michigan Cyber Safety Initiative was also on hand, speaking on the power and potential dangers of social media.

"This really is about education," said Anthony Lewis from the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. "It is about education and educating our students and educating our parents also."

Additional efforts are being put in place by the school to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.