ROOSEVELT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Parents on Long Island are expressing their shock and dismay after learning a racist photo was reportedly posted in a Nassau County classroom for months and no one said a word.
The racist photo – part of a classroom collage at Roosevelt Middle School – shows two nooses with stickers of laughs, a smiley face, and the hashtag “yes.”
“That is pure outright discrimination whether they realize it or not,” Pastor Arthur Mackey Jr. of Mount Sinai Baptist Church Cathedral said.
The title of the picture says “back-to-school necklaces,” which an internet search shows is another name for a noose. It’s also reportedly a phrase that’s sometimes used to express despair felt when school starts back up again.
Local parents and students say it’s a phrase and picture that doesn’t belong in class.
“I was shocked. I said no this couldn’t be, this can’t be real,” parent Cassandra Saunders said.
“This is evidence that racism still goes on; it’s disturbing,” student Dante Hawkins said.
Pastor Mackey was sent the photo. He said it’s part of a collage with pictures of three teachers and what appears to be other students.
Mackey said it’s a slap in the face during black history month.
“We call on our superintendent of schools and our school board to fire anyone that is involved with this,” Mackey told CBS2’s Lisa Rozner.
Hempstead town supervisor Laura Gillen is also calling on the school district to dismiss any teacher responsible for the display.
In a statement, the school district says it is aware of the inappropriate conduct and has launched an investigation, but cannot comment any further.