The photo of five Iowa high school students that began circulating social media Wednesday morning has shocked the local school system and community (see photo below).
The photo depicts the five students from Creston High School, in southern Iowa, standing in a field wearing white KKK-style hoods, holding a Confederate flag and burning a cross. A rifle is also seen, held by one of the students.
As soon as school officials learned of the photo, appearing on SnapChat, they launched an investigation and discovered who was involved. The Des Moines Register said athletic director Jeff Bevins told them the matter was dealt with swiftly, and the students were disciplined.
Because the students are minors, their identities and details of disciplinary measures taken were not released.
Bevins said, “That picture does not represent the beliefs of our school system, our parents or our community.”
Creston Police Department Sgt. Pat Henry said, “We don’t believe any real crime has been committed.”
Nevertheless, the community and other students are upset.
Creston Community High School Principal Bill Messerole released a statement on behalf of the school district, saying, “This picture does not represent our school system or our community. We are proud of how our students and staff conducted themselves today after the picture became public. It is of the utmost importance that our students feel safe and welcomed in our district.”
“This certainly isn’t an issue that you just forget and move on. … We want to make sure that it’s okay to have a dialogue about this,” Messerole said.
“The students that I’ve talked with today were obviously upset by the photo,” he added.
One student, a football player at Creston who wishes to remain anonymous, released the following statement on behalf of the football team to NBC13 WHO TV:
“As a current student at Creston and a member of the football team I would just like to make a statement. The five individuals that were involved with the picture are clearly in the wrong and they will face the consequences eventually. But I can promise everyone that as a whole our football team and community aren’t about that. The actions made by a small group shouldn’t represent the entire football team and community. I’m proud to be a part of what this team is actually about and it’s sad to see something like this ruin a rich tradition we carry.”
The students in the picture were involved in athletic activities at the school, but Bevins would not confirm if they were members of the football team.
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