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Milford Principal Responds to "Harlem Shake" Suspensions

Kids involved with the video told a local radio host their parents will no longer let them talk to the press.

In an email to White Lake-Highland Patch, Milford Principal Kevin McKenna said the suspensions given to several Milford High School student likely will not affect their college plans.

"Students are suspended everyday (in the district) for a variety of reasons," McKenna said. "It doesn't show up on their 'academic' record but a discipline record is created. If a college requests the discipline record, it's supplied, but the majority of universities and colleges do not initially request the discipline record."

McKenna also confirmed the students involved in the video were given either 3-day or 5-day out of school suspensions depending on which video they were involved in.

Earlier this week, Kim Root, Huron Valley Schools director of communications and community relations, told White Lake-Highland Patch there were actually two videos that were shot at the school and posted to YouTube, but one of the videos has been removed. The "Harlem Shake" video was posted to YouTube on Feb. 15 and was filmed after school, it's unclear when the other video was posted.

"The students in question violated several areas of our student code of conduct and with increased use of social media, we felt it was very important to hold students accountable for their actions and that's why these decisions have been made," Root said.

The videos included vulgarity and indecency, which violated the student code of conduct, Root said. 

"In one of the videos - the one taken down - included racial slurs," she said. "And the video that remains on YouTube, as far as I understand, has the use of a live animal in it."

Animals are prohibited in Huron Valley Schools unless they are service animals.

McKenna said all of the students suspended for the videos will be allowed to make up the work they've missed. And that any suspension can be appealed to the building principal.

Requests were made by Patch to speak with some of the students involved, but those requests have not been answered. On Mojo in the Morning Tuesday, the radio host explained that the students, who had appeared on the show several times this week, were told by their parents they could no longer speak with the press.

Local reaction

Reaction in the community has ranged from support for the students, to support of the Huron Valley School District and the punishments given to the students.

"The kid is humping a live duck. They are lucky they weren't expelled." Gerry Szumiak said on a Patch article posted Monday.

"Schools generally do not send a press release out when kids are suspended. I do not think the adults at the school blew this out of proportion. It is very evident by looking at the companion story and reading the social media posts included, that the only reason this "story" has any traction in the press is because some of the kids involved, or their parents, went to the media to complain and get their 15 minutes," a White Lake-Highland reader with the username "Highland Resident" wrote in the comments on an earlier article. "The posts in the companion story seem to indicate that certain kids involved are excited they are being mentioned in the press, or being called for an interview by local radio, or trying to get the 'story' mentioned on SNL. I think the suspension was fair - not even taking into account this second video people keep forgetting about which was reportedly worse. Actions have consequences."

Laura Vogel said she thinks the suspensions are too extreme, "We seem to be sucking all of the fun out of everything, and correspondingly making the consequences of garden-variety hijinks and knuckleheadism into severely punished offenses for little demonstrable benefit."

For more information check out:

  • Milford High School Students Suspended for Filming 'Harlem Shake' Video at School
  • Video From Mr. Milford Pageant Raises Questions About 'Harlem Shake' Suspension
  • 'Harlem Shake' Incident Spurs Conversation

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Patch Editor Nicole Krawcke contributed to this report.

Chad March 02, 2013 at 11:43 PM
I suppose I understand the punishments, but I have to admit something. That is hands down the best Harlem shake I've seen, and it might just be the funniest thing I've seen in my whole life. The first time I watched I was laughing so hard that it hurt and tears of hilariousness were falling from my eyes. My belly is still sore from my uncontrollable chuckling. Superman you are my hero. If you watched that and didn't LOL, or at least smile and giggle a little, I bet you're no fun at a party. If my kid was one of the Milford shakers, he might be spending his suspension in the Bahamas or something.

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