Parents of students at an elementary school in California were understandably outraged after finding out that the faculty they trusted with their children’s education recently posed for a picture appearing to celebrate a noose.
Four first grade teachers and a principal at Summerwind Elementary School in Palmdale have been suspended after a photo of them laughing and holding a noose was leaked. The principal, Linda Brandt, is accused of sending the picture, along with a second photo of a noose taped in an office in a blast email to her staff. Brandt was also under consideration to become the next district superintendent.
According to Yahoo Lifestyle, Summerwind parents were made aware of the photo on Instagram and they were demanding that all those involved be fired.
“You hate them little black babies. You hate them little Spanish babies. All them little minorities. You hate em!” Darrin Harper told Fox 11 on Thursday. “Because I know what she about. The pictures prove it, that’s what she about and that’s what she allow to go on. So she need to go.”
Another parent even pulled her 6-year-old from the school completely after the teachers showed up to work to resume their lessons on Thursday despite the controversy.
“They had the audacity to show up today,” parent Shaka Phillipps said. “The integrity of the school is completely compromised. To the black community, a noose is a weapon, a symbol of slavery and lynching.”
The Palmdale School District Superintendent Raul Maldonado said that he was aware of the photos and was planning to take immediate action.
“Yesterday, it was brought to the Palmdale School District’s attention that an incident involving the discovery of a noose and possibly inappropriate responses to that discovery occurred at Summerwind Elementary School,” Maldonado said. “The Principal and the personnel involved in this matter have been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation of the matter. We will follow process and procedures to conduct the investigation.”
Though this incident was shocking, parents said that it was just the latest example why more teachers of color were needed. According to the 74Million.org, during the 2014-2015 school year, 80 percent of the teachers in the U.S. public school system were white while just 6.7 percent were Black.
At Summerwind, Black students make up one-third of the student body. Prior to this incident, one teacher at the school said that the predominately white faculty has been a problem.
“The lack of people of color teaching is a huge issue,” Michele Lemaire noted. “The need is great, but apparently It’s not being addressed. But there seems to be a sorting of who should be working here.”