Teachers at a mostly minority middle school are under fire after a photo collage in a classroom included images of nooses.
According to NBC News, the photo collage deemed as ” racially offensive” shows two images of nooses named “back to school necklaces”. The photo, which was hung in a Roosevelt Middle School classroom, also included the words “ha” and “#yes” above and below it.
Arthur Mackey Jr., a pastor at Mount Sinai Baptist Church in Roosevelt, shared the photo on Facebook after he says a teacher at the school showed him the display.
“Once that was brought to my attention and I saw the picture, we knew that we had to stand up and inform the public,” Mackey told NBC News on Sunday. “All we’re asking is after a thorough investigation, that whoever is involved in this racist image be fired.”
The district released a statement on the matter Thursday saying it was made aware of the “inappropriate conduct” of an “isolated group of teachers.”
“An investigation was immediately initiated, and appropriate action taken,” the district said, adding that it has “zero tolerance for the display of racially offensive images.”
The school’s student body is comprised of 55 percent Hispanic or Latino and around 45 percent black or African-American, as of 2017-18 from the State Education Department. Mackey said the school district was recently removed from the state’s “Struggling” schools list in 2016 and is not happy about this recent incident.
“We’ve come such a long way with their grades,” Mackey told NBC News. “For a teacher to do this is a humiliating situation.”
Laura Gillen, Hempstead Town Supervisor, wants those involved in the racist images to be fired immediately.
“This imagery that was on display in a Roosevelt Middle School classroom is undoubtedly racist and should not be tolerated in our town, or any other community,” Gillen told WNBC. “The imagery is also deeply insensitive and troubling to anyone with mental health issues and those contemplating suicide,” she added.
Even though a community member named Savitri Lekhram told News12 Long Island that it was “probably a joke” having “nothing to do with African-Americans”, Yvette Hudson, a local resident, is glad her kids are not enrolled.
“I was very upset about it.”
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