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Michigan Department of Civil Rights Director James E. White Issues Statement on Racially Motivated Harassment of Hartland Student
March 05, 2021
LANSING, MI-James E. White, Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, has issued the following statement in response to reports of racially motivated harassment and bias targeting Hartland Consolidated Schools student Tatayana Vanderlaan.
"I am very troubled by the reports of what this student has been facing for months. At a time when she should be navigating the day-to-day challenges of high school, she has had to deal with this unacceptable situation. I applaud Tatayana for her bravery in bringing this situation forward."
"Our primary concern is for her safety and well-being, and that this harassment is brought to an immediate end. I am also disturbed by reports that teachers and school administrators were unresponsive when this situation was first brought to their attention. The Department has been in contact with the school to assist in evaluating their policies and to offer training help. We will also offer our assistance to Ms. Vanderlaan and her family, determine if there have been violations of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and decide on our next course of action."
The Michigan Department of Civil Rights, the operational arm of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, is charged with investigating and resolving discrimination complaints and working to prevent discrimination through educational programs that promote voluntary compliance with civil rights laws. It also provides information and services to businesses on diversity initiatives and equal employment law. For more information on the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, go to www.michigan.gov/mdcr.