A racist incident at a Wisconsin high school has gone viral when a photo of “White” and “Colored” signs over school water fountains, harking back to the days of segregation, was posted on social media this week.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, the Milwaukee-area Franklin High School was the location of the incident, which was denounced by local anti-discrimination organizations including the NAACP Milwaukee Branch, the League of United Latin American Citizens of Wisconsin, and the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.
Raw Story reported that photos of the signs were posted by Jacob Romanski, a student at the school who documented the sign and posted it on Facebook out of anger over its posting by a classmate.
“I was kind of sad, mad, angry,” he said. “It’s unacceptable.”
“I took this picture today at school,” he said on Facebook. “The principal was notified immediately and I made sure this kid got in trouble. I really don’t want to see this again.”
A former student at the school, Amber Ariel Smith, said on Facebook that racism has been a fixture at the school for quite some time now.
“From my sisters being called N***** and the school not doing anything about it. To students making a VIDEO about how it’s OKAY to say n***** for a presentation and the school STILL not doing anything. To THIS,” Smith posted.
“I swear if the school don’t do anything this time I’m driving up there myself. My younger brother and sisters shouldn’t have to be disrespected like this and no one doing anything about it… It’s kind of scary to go to a school where people still have the mindset,” she said.
While Romanski helped the school identify the perpetrator of the hate-filled prank, the school administration has not announced how they will address the student’s behavior.
“Franklin High School values each and every one of our students,” Principal Michael Vuolo said in a statement. “This act of intolerance by an individual does not represent the values of Franklin High School or the approximately 1700 people who teach and learn here every day.”
The local anti-discrimination organizations that responded to the news of the incident issued this joint response to the Principal’s statement:
“While we appreciate that administrators issued a statement disavowing this despicable action, the incident demonstrates the need for the school and the district to take immediate and ongoing action to make the school more inclusive and respectful of different cultures.”
“Today’s action highlights the urgency of taking actions to ensure that the school celebrates tolerance and inclusion as part of its curriculum and culture,” the statement continued.
Given that the school district does not even celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, it’s obvious that there’s a lot more that they can be doing to teach inclusiveness rather than letting racism run rampant.