'Racist image' featuring Kecoughtan High School students investigated

A post featuring a black student in a headlock with racial slurs prompted an investigation by Hampton City Schools.

HAMPTON, Va. (WVEC) -- Hampton City Schools is investigating what Kecoughtan High School's principal described as a "racist image" that surfaced Wednesday.

The post on social media shows a Kecoughtan student putting a choke hold on a deaf, black student. The post uses two slurs, including the "N" word.

“It’s all disgusting and it’s uncalled for and unnecessary and it’s really pissing me off right now,” said parent Miriam Gourdine.

“I’m here to cheer. I’m here to get an education, am not here to be racially targeted,” said Gourdine's daughter, Anysa, who is a freshman.

Both are worried for Anysa's safety.

“It makes me want to homeschool her because it’s really ridiculous right now,” said Gourdine.

Students told 13News Now the incident was not an isolated one.

The boy who put the student in the choke hold appeared in another picture making fun of a special needs student, putting cones on his head and arms.

“It’s hard enough for kids to make it through school and keep up with studies and everything else as it is, without adding any other conflicts or barriers to cross,” said parent Richard Roscopf.

The boy seen putting the student in a choke hold spoke with 13News Now by telephone and said it was all just a joke, and he was sorry; however, students who know him say they don’t believe that.

“He was in class today, and he said he already knew who was going to get beat up, but he was just in class. They just let him go to class,” said Anya Cooper. “I think he should be suspended or expelled, because that’s not right.”

Kecoughtan Principal Jeff Mordica did send home a letter to parents:

Dear Kecoughtan High School parents,

This is Jeff Mordica, principal at Kecoughtan High School. A racist image posted on social media is causing a lot of conversation today at school. I assure you that we are investigating this situation and we will take appropriate disciplinary measures.

Hate has no place in this school. Words and actions motivated by racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and other forms of bigotry will not be tolerated at Kecoughtan High School. We will use this as an opportunity to remind ourselves why we are here. This is an opportunity for education, a time to remind ourselves that we, as a school community, stand for respect and inclusion. We must be a place where all are free to learn in a safe and welcoming environment. That is the work that lies before us.

We have told our students that they may speak to a counselor if they would like to talk about this. They may also want to speak to their parents about this when they get home. I appreciate your support and cooperation as we work together to ensure our school is a safe and welcoming environment.

NOTE: 13News Now replaced certain letters within the quote from the original post with "*."

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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