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'Why didn't you stay in Mexico?’: Man makes racist remark at school diversity meeting

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Posted at 2:19 PM, Feb 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-06 16:17:17-05

SALINE, Mich. – A Michigan father is speaking out after another man asked him “why didn't you stay in Mexico?” at a school meeting.

That meeting was about inclusion, equity and diversity following an incident involving racist messages shared on Snapchat among students at Saline High School.

The meeting quickly got heated.

Adrian Iraola says he couldn’t believe what the other father shouted out at the community meeting Monday.

"This gentleman made it obvious to everybody that this is present and real and ugly," Iraola said.

WXYZ attempted to get in contact with the other man, but had no luck. However, the man's son has spoken out.

In a Facebook post Monday night, the son of the father who made the racist remark announced that his dad’s views don’t match his own.

Matt Burtell posted, "Today my father asked a deliberately racist question at the Saline Area Schools diversity and inclusion meeting. His views of hate in no way represent my own. I stand in solidarity with the refugees and immigrants of the world."

Iraola says since the outburst, customers have come to his restaurant, Chela’s, showing their support. He says what happened during that meeting is another learning experience. It's an example of what needs to end.

"It’s not too late to help others," Iraola said. "It’s not too late to remedy the situation and help people understand more needs to be done, so that children that are in the school system today and those that may come tomorrow don’t have to endure this type of emotional abuse."

WXYZ reached out to the school district multiple times for comment but had not heard back as of Thursday afternoon.

This story was originally published by staff at WXYZ.