A group of students at Wauwatosa West High School held a protest Monday, April 25, in response to an alleged racist comment made by the school's principal, Frank Calarco.
In two videos posted to Facebook, a student is shown standing on a table, speaking to a large group of his peers.
'What we need to do now is inform our parents, and our parents need to call the district and our parents need to call the school, to make sure that Mr. Calarco is held responsible for his actions,' the student said.
According to Rep. David Bowen (D-Milwaukee), the principal entered a classroom Friday when he noticed a black student sitting near the back of the classroom.
Calarco allegedly said the following, according to Bowen: 'Hey, can somebody tell this kid it's not 1960, and he doesn't have to sit in the back of the class? What, nobody thinks that's funny?'
Bowen was notified of the incident by the uncle of the student who was the target of the remark.
'The comments were definitely disparaging,' Bowen said.
In response to the alleged comment, students organized a protest during second hour Monday morning.
'Let's bring Mr. Calarco out,' the student standing on the table said in a second video posted to Facebook. The students in attendance begin to chant, 'Bring him out. Bring him out.'
The Facebook post had been shared nearly 300 times as of Tuesday afternoon.
Calarco did not immediately respond to phone messages left by Now Newspapers late Monday afternoon.
Superintendent Phil Ertl released the following statement: 'Last week, Frank Calarco, principal of Wauwatosa West High School, made a racial comment to a class of students. The statement, while not intending to be harmful, was insensitive and inappropriate.
'Mr. Calarco apologized to students on Friday and again today. This morning I joined some other district staff, including the district's supervisor of equity and student services, to listen to students who are understandably upset about this situation.'
Ertl invited any student, parent or community member who wanted to discuss the matter to contact him directly.
'Just as Principal Calarco has apologized, I, too, want to offer students and families my heartfelt apology for this situation,' the statement said. 'As a school district, our focus is on creating a safe and inviting school environment for all students. These comments moved us away from that goal. I am very sorry.'
Bowen said he met with Calarco and then stopped by the student forum before he was asked to leave by district staff.
Bowen said it was 'good to see that students organized themselves' to bring light to the situation and hopes they'll continue to do so if future incidents arise.