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Schools respond after students captured in photo referencing KKK

MADISON (WKOW) — Three Madison high school students are apologizing after a photo was spread around social media.

The Snapchat photo showed two girls from West High School and one girl from Madison Memorial High School posing with a caption that reads, “Like the KKK but with sequins.” In the photo, the girls can be seen wearing Santa hats with sequins.

27 News is not publishing the photo because the students are minors.

The photo surfaced earlier in the week and both West High and Memorial High’s principals sent letters to parents on Wednesday.

“A lot of students of color have been talking about it and are kind of worried about it,” said Alejandro Rivera, a senior at Madison West.

Some students were surprised by the photo but others were not.

In a letter to parents, Madison West Principal Karen Boran said in part, “the West students involved want to be clear, they had no knowledge of the social media post and were mortified to find out that they had been associated with something so offensive…”

Parents offered a mix of reactions as they picked up their kids outside of Madison West High School.

“I was a little sad to see it. Not shocked because we’re seeing these kinds of things more and more. I think social media allows these things to happen,” said Mary Skemp, a mother of two West High students.

“I would have to say [it was] more ignorance,” said Loretta Noguera, who has a student who attends the school. “Because I don’t see a correlation. It’s just a sad situation. Whether they mean it or not, that’s different. But the understanding that even if you don’t mean it, it’s just as harmful.”

Both parents agreed that adults need to talk to their kids about racial issues and the use of social media. Both parents believe education is key to moving forward.

Madison Memorial Principal Matt Hendrickson sent a letter to parents saying in part, “the student responsible for the post and her family conveyed that there is no place for this type of message in our community, and the message in no way reflects the student’s views.” It went on to read, “she [the student] deeply regrets sending it.”

The photo was not taken at either high school nor at a school-sponsored event.

School officials at both campuses are now offering resources to students and parents who may need them.

Hunter Sáenz

Reporter, WKOW

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