Updated: April 30, 2021 05:49 PM
Created: April 30, 2021 04:41 PM
(ABC 6 News) - Students at Pacelli are upset and scared after saying the school dismissed their concerns about an unsettling image surfacing on social media.
The picture shows two Pacelli students taking part in the George Floyd challenge, a viral trend where one person kneels on the neck of another, imitating the deadly arrest of George Floyd.
The school says the incident occurred in the past, and it wasn’t until it was recently brought to administrative attention that an investigation into the actions began.
Pacelli Principal Kane Malo says one of the school's most important values is inclusion and the behavior violates its code of conduct.
“We are trying to teach our students and get them to grow from this spot,” said Malo.
Several students say the school shifted its response once the image started gaining ground on social media. Many have been coming to community activist Abbigail Brinkman for advice. Students told Brinkman they weren’t supported by the school when they initially spoke out.
“It’s been very traumatic to the students that go there,” Brinkman said. “It has mentally affected them; they feel in danger, they feel it was a threat because it shows that, to them, their lives aren’t important and can be made a joke.”
Brinkman says students, parents and community members want to see the individuals involved expelled from school. Malo says he is taking disciplinary action but won’t give specifics.
“We do take this seriously. There will be consequences. We are immediately going to have counselors available for students that need them when we come back to school on May 10th,” said Malo.
Malo will put staff through diversity training and create a student organization focusing on discussing diversity and racism.
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