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‘No Other Repercussions’: Small Town Community Outraged After Five Teens Seen Wearing ‘White Lives Matter’ T-Shirts on Social Media Barely Received Punishment

Members of a small Pennsylvania town are making noise after five teens in their community were photographed mockingly posing wearing White Lives Matter T-shirts and were reportedly only sent home from school early on the last day of the year.

The image, which began circulating on Snapchat and Reddit, shows the group of teenage males who attended Montgomery Area High School wearing the shirts, in response to the Black Lives Matter movement and smiling, while one in the group poses with his two middle fingers raised. The students allegedly wore the shirts to school that day.

“One of the most disrespectful things I’ve ever seen happen in Montgomery,” read a student’s Snapchat caption that was captured on Reddit. “Only reason you did this was to piss people off and look like a complete racist, not funny at all.”

An anonymous source sent the image to VICE News, which reached out to the students in the image, the school’s vice-principal, the district’s superintendent, as well as various members of the Montgomery County System School Board for comment, but were met with no responses.

According to a source, the students were given a slap on the wrist for the offensive photo. “They were sent home from school. It was the LAST DAY. There were NO other repercussions,” said the source. “They even went to prom the very next night. Some of them are seniors going off to represent OUR school and town.”

“These boys have not apologized or been reprimanded. Montgomery perpetuates racism and, by not holding them accountable, allows it,” another source said.

Although the 97 percent white rural town of Montgomery, Pennsylvania, population 1,564, was described by sources to the news outlet as “very right-wing” and “conservative-Christian oriented,” those sources admitted that those same ideologies oftentimes lead to racist viewpoints. This incident has the town talking, however, many are afraid to publicly go against the dominating viewpoints within the community, which trickles right down to the schools.

“Each graduating class has roughly 45-60 kids per class,” said a source. “So in a town like this, you don’t really go against the grain or you are bullied and ostracized.”

The recent White Lives Matter incident at the school exploded in the town after the Snapchat was posted on Facebook and Reddit. One community member was so disturbed by the photograph that she wrote an open letter to the editor of a local paper, the Williamsport Sun-Gazette. In the letter, Sherry Lee Havonbrook demanded a public apology and expressed her “shock” and horror at the circulation of the photo.

“I was shocked to see a photograph of students at Montgomery Area High School online recently. They were wearing ‘White Lives Matter’ T-shirts to school on June 4,” she wrote. “These students should be ashamed of themselves as this is a known hate group. I am ashamed for the town which prides itself in having such a great school. I’m horrified for the targeted students, staff, and those that attend that do not align with such bigotry. I hope things get better but I’m disgusted.”

One Reddit user also expressed outrage over the photo that reflected poorly on her hometown.

“This is by far THEE most disrespectful and offensive thing I have ever witnessed in my hometown,” she wrote in a post above the photo. She continued, “These boys got kicked out of Montgomery High School today, rightfully so. They should also be forced to take summer school classes that touch base on diversity and idk, maybe respect? OR even just human decency really. This picture clearly shows they think it’s a joke. Racism is alive in our little country town, and I am appalled.”

Montgomery Area High School isn’t new to racially charged controversy. Just under 10 years ago, the school held an annual “Slave Day” when students would be auctioned off to their classmates and faculty to raise money for the senior class. The “slave” was required to do whatever their “purchaser” requested. The requirements reportedly included a range of tasks from carrying books for classmates, to being made to wear “silly or humiliating outfits.”

The event still occurs, but has since been renamed the “Student Auction.”

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