In the photo of the “promposal” that was shared on social media last week, the two White students can be seen posing with a placard that reads: “If I was Black I’d be picking cotton, but I’m White so I’m picking you to prom?”
In the aftermath of the incident, some parents and Black students called on the Big Lake School District to take action in addressing incidents of racism in its schools, WCCO reported. Responding to the recent incident, a mother of biracial students in the school district said the sign infuriated her, and it was a manifestation of the racial discrimination her children had been experiencing in school.
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“I just felt this the whole time my kids were going to school, so for it to finally come to light, it was very shocking,” Jennifer Alery said.
Alery’s daughter also called on authorities to take action, adding that the students in the picture should not be allowed to attend the prom. “If those kids are going to be allowed at prom, then it’s not going to be a welcome place for everyone,” Janaya Dimkpa said.
Alery’s son also re-echoed his mother’s sentiments and revealed he and his siblings had been subjected to racial discrimination by students, teachers and coaches at the school on many occasions.
“We’re almost glad that this came to light because like it’s always just, yeah, been swept under the rug,” Jayden Dimkpa, a former student at Big Lake High School, told WCCO.
“[My brother’s] gym teacher, he threw a sweatshirt at his head and said, ‘Cover up your head,’ just because he had like curls,” he added. “He’d come home sad [with] anxiety, puke on the bus because he like genuinely not want to go to school because he felt different.”
Though the school district released a statement condemning the sign and also announced they have taken action, they did not reveal exactly what has been done citing privacy laws. The district also said they have dispatched more social workers and counselors to the high school to provide assistance and therapy to students and staff affected by the incident. They added they’ll hold talks with local civil rights leaders on matters pertaining to race and other related issues.
Meanwhile, a janitor in the same school who allegedly used racial slurs in a video has also been placed on administrative leave.