Beaufort School District addresses photo with ‘racist label’ circulating

By WTOC Staff| January 29, 2021 at 1:51 PM EST - Updated January 29 at 11:31 PM 

BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - Parents and district leaders in Beaufort County are calling for change after a racist photo against a group of students circulated on social media.

The district called a news conference to condemn the post and share more on how they plan to have more conversations on race and equity in schools.

That post involved students from Bluffton High School. It was a picture posted on Snapchat of three Black male students with a caption using profanity and compared them to an animal.

The school district says they will not tolerate racism in their schools.

The school district says they were made aware of the post Tuesday, but the superintendent believes it may have been circulated well before then. They also say this photo was taken without the knowledge of these students in the image.

One of the parents of the victims of this racial post said he was not pleased with the school’s communication with parents about the post. Especially, since he says events like this continue to happen throughout the district.

“We were concerned for our children because they were left to the wild and we didn’t know if they were targets. We didn’t have any ability to safely and securely ensure that they made it home,” said parent Kenneth Frazier.

Superintendent Dr. Frank Rodriguez says they want to support students and to do that, they need to address the root of this issue.

“I want to make it clear where we stand as a Beaufort County School District family. As a school district, we do not tolerate racism, hatred, or divisiveness in any form. We’re better than this and this is not who we are,” Dr. Rodriquez said.

Dr. Rodriguez also says they have found the student responsible for creating the post. The district does not comment of disciplinary issues involving students, but he says the punishment is severe.

“We are hurt that this situation occurred in one of our schools but it has shown light on some of the negativity that we have seen recently in our nation.”

The school district also announced they will be creating an equity and inclusion task force so conversations on race and equality are discussed with students and adults.

Frazier says parents are ready and willing to work with the district to help make a change.

“There are many more kids in the district. And there are many kids that are affected from this incident that may not have been initially in it. So I think that there is a wide net that we need to cast to ensure these kids have the support and have the resources to pivot from this, learn from this and take the experience with them going forward.”

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