A photo of Idaho high school students spelling out a racial slur on their shirts while standing behind a mixed-race girl has sparked outrage amongst parents and the community. East Idaho News said the picture was snapped at Salmon High School and uploaded to one of the student’s Instagram accounts.
The now-deleted photo shows the mixed-race girl lying on the ground while six other kids stood above her, all of them flipping off the camera. Each one of the standing students’ shirts displays a letter, which put together spells out the N-word.
Dr. Troy Easterday, Superintendent for Salmon School District 291, confirmed in a statement sent to East Idaho News that “disciplinary action” has been taken against the students involved. He also addressed the controversy in a video posted to the Salmon Savages Facebook page Tuesday morning (September 26).
“I am well aware of the current situation happening within a social media post by our Salmon School District students,” Easterday in the video. “At this time, our administrative team at the Salmon School District is investigating this post and will keep the community aware within the legal confounds of the law.”
Many parents expressed their shock and anger over the racist photo, including one parent who called the students’ antics a “hate crime.”
“The post is disgusting and a hate crime. I’m ashamed and embarrassed. My husband is one of two, maybe three African-Americans in this town,” the anonymous parent told reporters. “I’m afraid if I said too much it would affect my job or my small business.”
Another mother said she’s thinking about pulling her kids from the school over the high-profile incident.
“The reason why there’s hate in this community is because no one does anything about it. Period,” she said. “These kids are old enough to know right from wrong. Parents, do better. But you can’t blame the parents for this, because some of them are 18. They’re adults. It’s disturbing.”