Hartland senior said she endured racial harassment, was told she 'should be lynched'

"The fact that people blew up my phone harassed me and saying I should be lynched," said Tatayana Vanderlaan. 

That was when Vanderlaan felt she needed to bring the racist actions of students, teachers, and administrators who she claims pushed it under the rug - to the forefront.

The 18-year-old senior posted on Facebook how a group of boys called her the n-word and other racial slurs, made fun of her appearance, and the teachers did nothing. 

Other students saying " Black lives don't matter" and how they "should go back to the plantation."  and she says when she dressed up for her senior presentation, students made fun of her telling her she was dressed for "a Black person's funeral."

Tatayana says she complained to administrators and they put her back with the students, who had been harassing her.

"I feel very unsafe not only in the Hartland community but wherever I go, after receiving the threats," she said. 

The Hartland Consolidated Schools superintendent read Tatayana's Facebook post.
In response the next day he sent a letter out to let parents and students know the district "does not take the allegations lightly" and will do "everything possible" to make sure students are safe. It adds that they plan to investigate the claims and take any steps necessary to end the harassment.

"I know that there is racism with every race and everyone should be able to feel safe and be able to get to know others as a person, not for the color of their skin," she said.

The Livingston County Sheriff's Office is also investigating. Lt. Armstrong said they are interviewing all allegedly involved - but it is going to take time.

Tatayana plans to meet with the district Monday to discuss how she can safely return to school.
"I feel that as a young woman and what I have gone through, no educator should ever take my education away because of how others have treated me with zero action," she said.

Sadly, Tatayana says she isn't alone. The other five African-American students who attend the high school located in Livingston County - which is predominantly white - also experienced racial harassment.

Tatayana Vanderlaan

She says she's coming forward now - so other students won't have to endure such hateful behavior because of the color of their skin.

"I think that the education process needs to be positive, not full of intimidation and threats," she said.