Students Suspended At Union HS for the “Harlem Shake”

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.- Nine students from Union High School in Grand Rapids have been suspended after posting a “Harlem Shake” video online.

The 30 second video starts like other “Harlem Shake” videos, one person dancing alone and then halfway through the video it cuts to a classroom full of high school students doing the dance.

The creator of the video, 16-year-old Luis Romero, said he the process took about a minute to do after he downloaded a Harlem Shake app on his phone.

The class had a substitute teacher at the time the video was shot.  Romero said he asked her if it would be alright to make the movie.

“We were like hey miss can we do the Harlem Shake? She was like yes you can do it just as long as you do your work and keep it down,” said Romero.

Jon Helmholdt, a spokesperson with Grand Rapids Public Schools, said they were able to identify nine students in the video and suspended those students for two days for causing a disruption and violating the school dress code.

In addition the teacher was also held responsible.

Helmholdt said, “The teacher also exercised poor judgement and allowed it to happen without managing the class or allowing it to happen with their approval and either way it’s unexceptable.  Not only did we escort that teacher off campus, but we communicated with PESG and they are not allowed to teach in this district anymore.”

Romero said he doesn’t regret making the video but he does feel bad that the substitute teacher will no longer be allowed to teach in the district.

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27 comments

  • Mags

    I would think the bigger issue is what they are wearing. The kid can't even keep his pants up. Forget having fun, maybe we should enforce pants at your waist.

  • Charles

    And this teacher did nothing? And she's teaching kids? How sad. There are rules for a reason actually. Yeah they look like 'its just fun', but everyone one of those kids dancing on a desk is an insurance liability. If anyone of them fell and broke or hurt something, you think their broke-ash parents wouldn't hesitate to bring a law suit against the school? Never mind the law suit, the kids could have gotten hurt.

    And that lump of flesh called a teacher let it happen. I wouldn't want that lump teaching my kids.

  • Big Dave

    Who knows when this "Dance" took place? Was it before class? After class? So what some kids had some fun dancing. Taking kids out of class when they need to be there learning is going to help? Was there a school rule that said no dancing was allowed at any time? or was the punishment laid down after the fact? I am ashamed to say I graduated from Union if they treat kids this way for "dancing".-

  • Mrs. Lovett

    I see oppression is STILL alive and well in Mi!
    Punishing kids for having a little fun that did not break any laws is ludicris!
    Isn't Mi lawmakers and all the health sycophants there always grumbling about kids not being "healthy" [stupid] and griping about people/kids not getting enough exercise, So when the kids do something fun, The adults lower the hammer and punish them?
    That is a bit much-It's like be darned if they do and be darned if they don't!
    I am in my 50's and I find what these kids did as refreshing!
    To the school officials in this case- This sounds like people/educators with power issues and what you are doing is wrong!
    Lighten up, No one was killed or even inconvenienced for heaven sakes!
    People cannot prosper or excel when they are being inundated with oppression!
    Honestly, When I think of Michigan, I think of too many laws and tyranny!
    What a sad miserable state and actions like this just proves my point!
    Happy I no longer live there!

  • amanda

    Was a suspension really appropriate?? And how can you even make the assumption that they have "broke-ash" parents @Charles??? And personally no I wouldn't if my child's actions were the reason he/she got hurt.

  • THE PUNCHING BAG

    IF THIS WAS DONE RIGHT, I COULD SEE A GREAT LESSON IN SOCIAL MEDIA HERE.
    WHAT'S WRONG IN MAKING LEARNING FUN? WHY DO YOU THINK OUR KIDS DON'T PAY ATTENTION IN CLASS, AND DON'T LIKE SCHOOL? GRPS …SUCKS! GET YOUR HEADS OUT OF YOUR A HOLES, AND REALLY TEACH SOMETHING TO OUR KIDS!

  • my.opinion

    glad our tax dollars are funding teachers that let this happen. nice to see half naked kids dancing while they should be learning, 2 days was not enough,

  • Kim

    Umm what were the kids being taught? I see other kids attempting to read or do some sort of work,wth was she teaching? How to waste time in school. People wonder why America produces some of the dumbest kids.

  • Ala

    I think more emphasis should be on the attire these kids were wearing, it's either absent or atrocious! As for the dance, I don't see it as a problem unless it was during class time rather than before or after. And even during class wouldn't be so awful if it was just a short break.

  • Pet63

    This is just a phase that is sweeping the country…Why get all bent out of shape about some kids having some harmless fun….My grand daughter and her friends just did this at various locations in Greenville. Their video is on You Tube also…Lighten up GR…..

  • fedupparent

    I think it is sad that in todays society our children have to face the peer pressure of sex, drugs along with Bullying, Suicides and School Shootings then when they learn to balance that they have the school system Bullying them. Yes they could have fallen and gotten hurt but that could happen at recess on a playground also. I think they have serious power struggle issues. I think if these same students skipped school and made this video & posted it, they would have faced the same consequence and probably been accused of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, lockers searched, etc. Cut them some slack, these are the some of the Best Years of their lives. It is a huge trend in children & adults. I saw today in the news that college students are doing it on the plane. They could use it as an incentive to get through the days agenda then they can practice for a school competition then everybody wins. Their actions were not worthy of school suspension & being banned from teaching in the District. Whoever made that decision has documented this in their school/employment file FOREVER!! I am sure they themselves have made mistakes in life and if they were documented for all of them they might not have the job they do now. If this was my child I would fight this suspension and if they still upheld the suspension I would keep my child home on count day(make another video), they have so many bigger issues to battle in the school system than figuring out how to suspend, expel or ban children/teachers from school. I think its Great to see students of all different ethnic groups united having fun for a moment. I mean after all aren't we all tired of the news headlines being that a student goes on a shooting rampage killing students/staff. I think the parents of these students need to unite & fight for their kids, do not allow their school records to be permanently flawed for something so innocent, if they want to go to college they shouldn't have to explain this or be denied because of this. Funny how some schools seem so eager to suspend/expel students After count day and they will keep on doing it until somebody puts a stop to it.

  • Debbie Kaminski

    This is do dumb. I love the dance. You need to take your time and get the drugs and the stealing out. Not trying to get attention by hurting good kids.

  • Amber

    OK so all the people that say that should have got more time out of school, come on now really? They are having fun, not hurting anyone would you rather them be out joining gangs,doing drugs,shooting people ect? Its a innocent video of them having fun at school….I am personally happy that MY BROTHER was apart of this because it shows that there is kids out there that still have spunk in them and not out starting trouble in the streets!!

  • 2013worldseries

    I missed the part where the kids were doing drugs, carrying weapons, destroying property, skipped the entire class, bullying someone, or just being disrespectful. WTH? Heaven forbid these children should find a way to rub elbows instead of poking each other with them. Maybe a verbal warning at most and let it go. PS. really sorry for the sub's job loss and probable black listing.

  • Jalensmom

    Okay to all the ignorant people talking trash…… these kids are inner city kids 9 out 10 are in gangs running the streets getting in trouble with the law. In this video Kids are being kids!! Kids grow way to fast now adays ! So seeing MY SON in this video makes me smile!! He did nothing wrong all he did was be a kid and have some fun!!! I would much rather see him on the news for being a kid and not out there getting in trouble with the law!! So with that being said all of you talking trash you obviousley never had fun in your life try and get a life and remember you only live once BE HAPPY AND HAVE FUN!!!!!! Oh yeah and get a damn life !!!! MY SON made my day I raised him right !!!