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'Do better, Mead': High school students protest after viral photo shows re-enactment of Floyd murder

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Posted at 1:30 PM, May 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-21 23:11:02-04

MEAD, Colo. – Dozens of students at Mead High School protested outside school grounds Friday morning after a picture was posted on social media showing three students – one of them in blackface – reenacting the murder of George Floyd in recent days.

The protest centered around bringing the racial discrimination that happens at Mead High School to light, according to students who spoke with Denver7 ahead of the event.

During the protest, students could be seen holding Black Lives Matter signs among others, calling for racist behavior at the school to stop.

“As long as we tolerate racist behavior we all might as well be the students in the photo,” a sign from one of the students read.

“Blackface will never be ‘just a joke,’” reads another.

On Thursday, Mead High School Principal Rachael Ayers sent a letter to families in which she shared that she was made aware of a potential threat made to the school related to the racist social media post.

Ayers said officials, in partnership with the school resource officer and the Mead Police Department, immediately identified the student who posted the threat and began a thorough investigation.

“Through our investigation, we have determined that there is no ongoing threat to the school community, and I want to recognize the individuals who came forward with their concerns,” Ayers wrote in her letter.

Students Denver7 spoke with Thursday said the image was posted to Snapchat. It shows one student in blackface lying on the ground, another kneeling on that student’s neck, and another kneeling on his back – the same position Floyd was in just before he was killed last summer.

A caption on the photo says, “Bye bye senoirs (sic).”

Mead High School Principal Rachael Ayers sent a letter to students and parents of the high school Wednesday saying she was made aware of the “highly-offensive photo” on Tuesday and that the photo was taken on school grounds. The students have not been identified, and school and district officials did not say when the photo was taken on school property.

Ayers said the photo “did not reflect our school’s high standards of respect, character, and inclusivity.”

“We take this type of conduct very seriously and have begun an investigation into the matter,” Ayers wrote. “If you or your student saw this social media post and would like to process any feelings it may have brought forward, our counseling staff is prepared to provide additional support.”

Don Haddad, Ed.D., the superintendent for St. Vrain Valley Schools, issued a statement Thursday condemning the students’ actions in the photo and the spreading of it on social media.

“We in the St. Vrain Valley Schools strongly condemn, and have no tolerance for, racism in any form and will be addressing this extremely serious matter immediately and accordingly,” Haddad said. “Our district reaffirms its commitment to diversity and equality in our schools and in our operations.”