Howell Schools to take "corrective action" following racist - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Howell Schools to take "corrective action" following racist tweets by students

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(03/17/14) - A big basketball win, last week, took a nasty turn on Twitter.

A spokesman for Howell Public Schools says administrators, congruent with the district's board policy, are taking "corrective action" following racially motivated tweets sent by students.

"There is no room for this type of behavior in our district," said Howell Superintendent Ron Wilson. "This was a small group of students whose actions are not reflective of our student body as a whole."

It happened after Howell beat Grand Blanc in the regional championship basketball game, in Linden, Thursday.

Online apologies followed, but the damage was done. Other Howell High School students had already reported the tweets.

We couldn't find the tweets in their feeds, Monday.

The Flint Journal posted a few of them with its story, Saturday:

"Not only did we beat Grand Blanc but we're all white. Howell's the definite winner tonight."

"All hail white power. #HitlerIsMyDad"

ABC12 messaged the student tied to the second tweet posted above. We are not using his name. He, a 17-year-old high school senior, says the tweet was a joke sent to a friend, "Simply kids in the heat of the moment, it was not aimed at anyone and was not serious at all."

"I think it's hard, not just for students, but for everyone, to remember you're not only speaking to your friends. It is not a private conversation. The whole world is watching. You've got to be careful about what you say," says Marcus Paroske, associate professor of communication at the University of Michigan Flint. "When you are in an area that has a history of racism, you have to be even more careful."

Robert Miles, once the grand dragon of the Michigan Ku Klux Klan, had ties to the Howell area. He died in 1992.   

"The Internet is forever," Paroske says. "Even things you think are deleted are still out there."

Howell High School Principal Jason Schrock spoke with the students and their parents.

Corrective action will be taken, but a district spokesman declined to detail what exactly.

"The actions of these select students is not reflective of Howell High School, our student athletes or the Howell community," Schrock said. "The fact that it was our students who reported these offensive tweets speaks volumes about our student body who refuse to stand by when they witness this type of behavior."

A press release from Howell Public Schools indicates administrators have been in contact with their counterparts in Grand Blanc.

"We have a high level of respect for Grand Blanc and their school community. We are discussing opportunities for our students to continue to keep the relationship between our schools positive and to create opportunities for our students to work together," Schrock said.

ABC12 was unable to reach anyone from Grand Blanc Schools, Monday. We were told the superintendent was out for the day and our calls to the high school principal and basketball coach were not returned.

Howell plays Mt. Pleasant, in Davison, Tuesday.

Our call to the Mt. Pleasant's athletic director was not returned.

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