A Colorado high school has launched an investigation after an image showing a group of students appearing to reenact the death of George Floyd surfaced online earlier this week.
The image, which first surfaced on Snapchat, shows three students reenacting the death on school grounds, while the student posing as Floyd dons black face.
“Yesterday, we were made aware of a highly-offensive photo taken on school grounds and posted to social media that did not reflect our school’s high standards of respect, character and inclusivity,” Mead High School principal Rachael Ayers wrote in a letter sent to parents.
According to a parent who contacted Yellow Scene magazine, the incident took place on Tuesday, May 18. She said a friend of her son who attended the school had posted the image on social media.
A white student allegedly put his face by a diesel truck’s exhaust pipe, and scraped the pipe for extra soot before posing for the photo. The student then laid on the ground while another student placed a knee in his neck while a third placed his knee on the student’s back.
The image is meant as a reenactment of Floyd’s death nearly a year after he died after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nearly 10 minutes.
The image was first discovered on Snapchat.
“We take this type of conduct very seriously and have begun an investigation into the matter. If you or your student saw this social media post and would like to process any feelings it may have brought forward, our counseling staff is prepared to provide additional support,” Ayers said in the statement.
A spokesperson for St. Vrain Valley Schools said privacy laws prevent information about the investigation from being released.
The parent who spoke to Yellow Scene said Mead High School has a a history of racial incidents. “My son said lots of racist things have happened there (said there are lots of “white hicks” that go there)… but that the principal never does anything about it,” she said.
An alum of the high school agreed that racism is nothing new to their school. “Four years ago, we were dealing with race in this school, too. Anything like that should not be tolerated by anybody,” she told 9News
In 2018, Mead, Colorado was more than 85 percent white.
Superintendent Don Haddad confirmed in a statement on Thursday, May 20, that the people in the photo were students, calling the image “disturbing and disgusting,” adding that the district has no tolerance for racism and will address the issue “immediately and accordingly.” The students have allegedly been disciplined but due to privacy laws, the nature of the disciplinary action has not been revealed.
Other students for their expulsion. “They need to expel the kids that did this,” said one student who spoke to a local news channel.
Dozens of students walked out of class on Friday to protest alleged racism at the school. Students carried signs and marched, as they expressed that they felt the school had not done enough to punish the students who were allegedly suspended for five days each for their involvement.
A petition in response to the photo calling for change in the community has reached over 8,000 signatures.