GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) - A Grand Haven High School student said other students targeted her with racial slurs and sexual harassment -- one of several incidents to which the school district is responding.
Katie Bridgeforth, 15, and her parents watched bus surveillance video obtained by 24 Hour News 8 via the Freedom of Information Act and described what happened.
Reliving the incident on the school bus was quite difficult for Bridgeforth. She pointed herself out on the surveillance video -- dated Feb. 6 -- as she saw it for the first time.
Bridgeforth said her friend Dystany, 14, first heard the slurs.
"She heard those boys say, 'Oh, they should sit back here more often because black people belong in the back of the bus anyway,'" recalled Bridgeforth.
She said the group of boys continued to verbally abuse them, using the most hurtful and hateful word.
"I was sitting right there and they said, 'Look at those n words sitting over there,'" she recounted.
And it got worse.
"One of the dudes back here said to this dude over here, 'Would you ever f an n word?' And he was like, 'I would f a light-skinned one.' And he said, 'Well, there's those two light skinned n words over there.' And he said, 'I'll give you $5 if you f one of them,'" she said.
It was only one of a half dozen incidents the girls encountered at school dating back to September, including students wearing Ku Klux Klan-type hats and masks. The day before the incident Bridgeforth described, students wrote racial slurs on a foggy bus window.
Bridgeforth is still in counseling and trying to cope. She said things are still awkward in school, but slowly improving: The principal has put up notes to embrace diversity and the Grand Haven girls' basketball team wore tie-dye shoelaces in support.
"I felt good that people care," she said.
Bridgeforth's mother, Lisa Hall, said she has seen some encouraging things, too.
"The community has been very touching," Hall said. "Very supportive."
But things still get under Hall's skin, like a recent student newspaper article that she feels makes light of their claims.
"The fight's not over," she said. "That's something with diversity that will go on and on forever."
Hall still hasn't heard from the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department or prosecutor about where things stand with the students who were disciplined in the case.
She plans on attending a school diversity meeting set Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Grand Haven High School auditorium.
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A domestic violence expert looked at dash cam video for 24 Hour News 8 Thursday that showed the Grand Rapids police response to an incident that allegedly happened the same day Latrice Maze disappeared.
A woman accused of perjury in connection to the homicide of Latrice Maze is back in jail.