South Bend high school student behind race-based signs speaks out

Published: Feb. 11, 2016 at 6:09 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

A local high school student says he's in trouble after he and two other students posted some controversial signs at Riley High School.

The signs stated "COLORED ONLY" and "WHITES ONLY," and they were placed above water fountains throughout the school.

Shane Williams, who says he's black, white, and Hispanic, told NewsCenter 16, "I put the signs up to help students to view legal segregation in a different form, for them to experience it themselves. Within my school I can hear remarks and see actions on a daily basis. I think that if you guys are going to do these things, you guys are going to be racist, why do it under the table? Why not blatantly put it on the walls?"

Williams says he's been suspended for five days and could be expelled.

The South Bend Community School Corporation released the following statement:

There was an incident today at Riley High School involving three students. The students attend Adams, Clay and Riley high schools but take a morning course at Riley. While the students were out of their classroom, they placed signs above the water fountains throughout the school which said “whites only” and “colored only.” This was not a part of a class project nor endorsed or supported by any other program associated with South Bend Community School Corporation. When school officials became aware of the signs, they began removing them and investigating who placed the signs. The students identified have been told that this is a very serious matter and each will face disciplinary action.

Superintendent Carole Schmidt expressed her outrage. “I was extremely disappointed to learn of the actions of these students today. There is no place for these kinds of actions in our schools or in our community. My hope is that there can be some learning for those students involved. There will be discussions with the students at Riley about the seriousness of these signs and how detrimental they are to the culturally responsive environment we are attempting to create in all our schools.”