Four Michigan high school students have been suspended after a photo of them posing with racial slurs on their stomachs went viral, Fox 2 Detroit reports.
The Grosse Pointe South High School students took the photo at a party off campus and posted it to popular app Snapchat over the weekend. Three of the teens are seen with the phrase “I love niggers” on their stomachs, while another wrote “I love weed” on her leg. After the pic found its way to Instagram, African-American student and friend of the one of the teens, Tia Fowlkes, posted it on Twitter.
Fowlkes deleted her page shortly after. However, the picture was picked up by other students.
On Monday, a letter was sent home to parents. Eventually, the four students and two others who engaged in threatening behavior on social media were suspended for five days.
Via Fox 2 Detroit:
“I was really, really disgusted by it. I was not happy,” said Phelan Johnson, who attends Grosse Pointe South High School. “I just think that the people who go to this school are getting a good education and that this isn’t a result of stupidity, it’s a result of racism.”
Fowlkes, who is also a member of the African-American diversity club BASE, called the photo “disgusting and horrifying.”
The Tower Pulse reports:
“I was shocked that someone who I thought was my friend would do something like this, so I decided to confront her about it,” Fowlkes said. “I told her it wasn’t funny, and instead, she tried defending herself, acting like it wasn’t an act of racism. So I decided to put it out there to know since she thought it was so funny.”
The students released an apology through the high school newspaper’s Twitter account. They also met with other students belonging to BASE and pledged to work with the group to bring about more awareness regarding racial disparities.
Superintendent Gary Niehaus announced a police investigation will be launched. The school plans to implement diversity classes and discussions on race in the next school year.