Swartz Creek Teen’s Viral Facebook Post Indicates Rampant Racism at School
A Black student at Hartland High School in Livingston County is speaking out about racism and harassment at the school, saying virtually nothing is being done to stop it.
Tatayana Vanderlaan, whose Facebook profile indicates that she lives in Swartz Creek, posted a lengthy statement on Monday (3/1), saying that she has been called racist names, including the N-word, and harassed about her hair and appearance. She says that on one occasion, "the teacher heard it all and said nothing."
Vanderlaan alleges that there is no diversity and that there are "so many racist people" at the school and that she's been told that Black lives don't matter. Reports indicate that the Black student population at Hartland High School is less than one percent. The Board President of the Livingston Diversity Council tells WXYZ that her organization has reached out to Vanderlaan to offer its support.
Nicole Matthews-Creech says the Diversity Council has been working with area schools, even before Vanderlaan's Facebook post came to light.
"What do our districts and our charter schools have in place to address these issues? Because you can't do good prevention without good policy, and you can't have good policy without having good training with your teachers and your staff," Matthews-Creech stated.
Vanderlaan says she did not attend school for three weeks because she did not feel comfortable as a young black woman in a school "that is supposed to be 'safe and stress free.'"
Vanderlaan's Facebook post is below. Please note that it has not been redacted and the contents contain terms that considered offensive.