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The disturbing image shows an African-American student with KKK hoods digitally superimposed on her classmate’s faces. The picture was posted Tuesday afternoon on the school’s Snapchat group where it was seen by other students who reported it to school administrators.
“It was awful,” said Mary Morrow-Webb, the mother of the student in the picture. “It was frightening. I just really got sick to my stomach. I was afraid for my daughters and for the other children there that are at risk for these types of threats.”
Albuquerque Public Schools said an immediate investigation was launched and the two students who posted the picture have been suspended for 10 days. One of the students has also been kicked off the football team. APS said the boys said the picture was supposed to be a joke.
“You don’t expect your kids going to school and having to deal with racism and discrimination in 2017,” said Lamont Webb, the girl’s father. “It’s kind of appalling.”
Webb said his daughter, along with her two sisters who go to the same school, hasn’t gone back since the picture was posted.
“And now they say they can’t go back,” Morrow-Webb said. “And we can’t afford to send our daughters to private school, so what options do they have? They finally have broken my girls. So what do we do?”
The couple said they’ve been reporting incidents of racism and bullying toward their daughters for three years but the school has done nothing.
“We’ve been coming in with complaints of my daughter saying someone called her the N-word,” Webb said. “Someone called her a porch monkey and different things like that on a regular basis.”
APS said the picture was totally unacceptable.
“We took this to our police department,” APS Superintendent Raquel Reedy said. “They came and investigated and are really looking very carefully at whether we should file charges for hate crimes. This is something we’re looking at very carefully because it’s this serious.”
As for the claims of past incidents involving racist bullying at the school, Reedy said the school has a new principal.
“The fact is that she is out to make sure that this doesn’t happen again,” Reedy said. “She is adamant that the school is going to be safe for every single student that attends, and I would encourage any parent who has any concerns to contact Ms. Bannerman because she will look into it and they would be heard.”
To reach the principal’s note that was sent home to parents, click here.