Enjoli Francis and Michael Mendelsohn, ABC News, February 4, 2020
A community in Michigan is reeling after video captured a man making a racist comment toward another parent at a meeting that had been called to discuss concerns about diversity and acceptance at schools.
Adrian Iraola was standing up with a microphone Monday, sharing a story with parents and school administrators, in Saline, Michigan, about how racism in the school had been affecting his child when he was interrupted.
Suddenly, as he was midsentence, a man behind him spoke out.
“Then why didn’t you stay in Mexico?” asked the man, who was identified by Ann Arbor News/MLive.com as Tom Burtell.
The remark was met with audible gasps as parents and attendees turned around to look at Burtell, who is white.
“You need to leave,” a woman could be heard saying in the video obtained by ABC News.
The school district, which is predominantly white, said in a statement Tuesday that “hate, prejudice, and racism have no place in our schools or our community.”
According to Ann Arbor News/M Live.com, the meeting on Monday had been called to discuss solutions after remarks made in a social media group in January by some high school students had been deemed an “act of racism” by administrators.
“But you’re complaining about being here,” Burtell said.
In another video posted by Arbor News/MLive.com, Burtell said he’d been a victim of racism “all the time.”
“Try being white and walk in a black neighborhood,” he told the parents. “See what happens.”