GROSSE POINTE WOODS, Mich. (WJBK) - A student is stunned, his parents livid and a teacher is out of the classroom after an eyebrow-raising exchange at Grosse Pointe North High School on Monday.
"It's real shocking that someone would say that to me," says Christopher Harris-Thomas. "Especially a teacher."
Christopher was talking with a student who recently celebrated a birthday when he asked his teacher what she did upon turning 21.
"I said, 'I know what I'm going to do for my 21st birthday,' and that's when she said, 'If you're going to make it,' - and then repeated it and laughed about it," he says. And those words cut deep for more reasons than one.
Christopher's brother Corey, a former Grosse Pointe North student, was murdered in 2017 trying to sell a pair of basketball shoes.
"Knowing that my brother didn't make it past 18, he died at 17. Knowing that someone is telling me I won't make it past 21, that's real hurtful," Christopher says.
Meanwhile, though, Grosse Pointe Public Schools superintendent tells us the teacher is on administrative leave pending an investigation.
"The interaction between the teacher and the student was inappropriate, unacceptable and something we're not going to tolerate," Gary Niehaus told us.
Christopher's parents, Corey and Deidra, say the teacher should be fired and that the remarks are taking a huge toll on Christopher, who's still getting over his brother's death.
"As an educator you have to be held to a higher standard as to what you say and how you do things," Diedra Harris-Thomas told us. "And, thankfully, my child has a good support system within his family, but we never know. Most children who commit suicide, you don't know anything is wrong with them. You know, this could have been something where he was just wants to give up."
The investigation will begin Wednesday and should be wrapped up by the end of the week. That's when the district will decide what happens to the teacher in question.