Roller rink under fire after hosting exclusive homecoming dance with predominately white schools
Tarry Hall Roller Rink hosted a multi-school homecoming dance over the weekend, but community members have expressed frustration that the invite list included a slew of predominantly white schools. The rink insists school demographics played no role in which schools were invited to participate.
A West Michigan roller rink is fighting discrimination accusations, after it hosted an invite-only homecoming dance with predominantly white schools. The private business insists school demographics didn't play a role in their decisions regarding the event.
Tarry Hall Roller Skating Rink welcomed in teens from 11 area high schools over the weekend for it's multi-school homecoming dance. The event was marketed as "exclusive," requiring student ID's and charging $15 per ticket.
The event saw a flurry of backlash on social media, with community members noting the schools invited were predominantly white schools. Wyoming Public Schools (WPS), who did not receive an invite, posted a response on its Facebook page saying:
"Wyoming Public Schools has spent resources at Tarry Hall for school skating parties and Team 21 events. Due to the seemingly discriminatory nature of this party, a response and explanation is needed from Tarry Hall in regard to who was invited and excluded from the event." Read the full post, here.
According to Public School Review, minority enrollment makes up 72% of WPS' student body. In its statement, the WPS board and superintendent, Craig Hoekstra, noted other diverse schools who were left off the invite list.
"Notably, left off the list of invitees was Wyoming Public Schools and other diverse high schools in the area including East Kentwood, Godfrey-Lee, Godwin Heights, Kelloggsville and Grand Rapids Public Schools. The schools invited were all predominately white schools, some further from Tarry Hall than the schools listed above," the post read.
Tarry Hall Roller Skating Rink addressed concerns on its Facebook account. It noted capacity issues, saying inviting every area school was not possible.
"We are a privately owned business who put on a private event for our own high school kids, their friends, and the area schools who have continued to support our rink through these challenging times. School demographics were not entered into the equation on which schools to invite," the business said. View the full release here.
The list of high schools invited to the homecoming dance are listed below:
- Byron Center
- Unity Christian
- South Christian
- Calvin Christian
- Tri-Unity Christian
WGVU reached out to Wyoming Public Schools and Tarry Hall Roller Skating Rink for additional comments and are awaiting a response.