AAPS Student Says Teacher Is Creating Hostile Environment For Black Students

Aug 25, 2020

With the help of the University of Michigan’s Civil Rights Litigation Initiative, a black student from Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor filed a complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.  

Sixteen-year-old Makayla Kelsey alleges that her math teacher, Michele Macke, has created a racial hostile environment for Black students by insulting them and posting grades of struggling students on a SmartBoard for all to see.  Liza Davis is a student attorney with the Civil Rights Litigation Initiative, a clinic representing Kelsey, that allows students to work on real cases in a clinical setting.  She explains what action they would like Ann Arbor Public Schools to take.  

Liza Davis: We would like them to hire an external civil rights organization to investigate the educational environment at Pioneer and to make recommendations that would make the environment more equitable for all students, regardless of their skin color.

In a written statement, district spokesperson Andrew Cluley said, “In the Ann Arbor Public Schools, we stand strongly against any and all acts of racism, bigotry and bias.  We will not comment publicly on personnel processes or pending litigation.”

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— Jorge Avellan is a reporter for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him javellan@emich.edu