Ypsilanti, Mich., families are demanding answers after an email with threatening, racist language was sent to six black students at Washtenaw International Middle Academy.
One of those students was Devin Francois’ seventh-grade daughter. The email was sent to students on Jan. 29, and Francois has kept her daughter, Ariana, at home from school since Feb. 5 for fear of her daughter interacting with the aggressor.
“I was definitely blown away by some of the language that was used [in the email],” Francois told MLive. “It’s raising a lot of anxiety for my child, a lot of uncertainty and fear.”
“U need ta [sic] get your nigger loving ass out of here and all this black lives matter bullshit,” the email read. The racial slur was used multiple times throughout the email, which also stated that black Americans should “leave this country.”
“One day your kids will get what they deserve being on this land,” the email writer added, complete with seven skull-and-crossbones emojis. “White lives matter….go Trump!!!!”
The email made the students who received it feel not only sick but also terrified.
“My stomach was hurting. My head was swirling. I was really scared for the rest of that day because the possibilities of something happening right then and there,” Kasim Brown, one of the students who received the hateful email, told WXYZ-TV. “I was a sitting duck.
“It’s just really hurtful. It’s like a bullet wound,” Kasim added.
Kasim and Ariana were the only two students to open and see the horrific note. After they alerted school staff, the staff deleted the email from the remaining students’ accounts to prevent them from opening it, too. The school then blocked the email account that sent the message, MLive notes.
However, the damage was more than already done.
Both Ariana’s and Kasim’s parents took their concerns to the Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education on Feb. 6. The following day, some students at Washtenaw International High School staged a sit-in, protesting the ongoing racism that they say they have experienced at school.
The high school and middle academy share a building, along with a principal and an associate principal.
“This language and messaging is hateful and unacceptable and has no place in our WIMA community,” Associate Principal Jessica Garcia wrote in an email to families. “We are taking this act of racial harassment seriously and taking immediate action.”
The email came from a Gmail account. Francois believes that since school-issued email addresses use student-ID numbers, the sender of the email must have been someone who is familiar with the school’s email system.
The school’s IT department is looking at IP addresses in hopes of identifying the source of the email.
“We’re looking at [the email] in a very discriminate type of way to make sure that whoever has done this, and I say that emphatically, that they are held to the highest [consequences] that this board would allow,” Assistant Superintendent for Ypsilanti Schools Sherrell Hobbs said at the school board meeting.