Rachael Ayers (above), the principal of Mead High School in Longmont, Colorado, has resigned, it was announced Monday.
The principal of a Colorado high school has resigned three weeks after a photo went viral showing a black-faced student on campus with two others kneeling on him in a reenactment of George Floyd’s murder.
The resignation of Rachael Ayers as principal of Mead High School in Longmont, some 35 miles north of Denver, was announced Monday in a letter to parents by Don Haddad, Superintendent of the St. Vrain Valley School District.
In the letter, Haddad praised Ayers for the 12 years she spent at the school as a teacher, assistant principal and principal, according to Daily camera.
Ayers will be replaced by Brian Young, principal of Frederick High School.
Haddad wrote in his letter that Young plans to reach out to the community to “discuss promoting student success and achievement with a focus on a safe and inclusive school environment and culture for every student, teacher, staff and member of the community.” the community’.
The three teens sparked a storm of controversy last month over what some say was a “disturbing and disgusting” reenactment of Floyd’s death.
The photo, which was posted to Snapchat, shows a blackface student lying on the floor while another student presses his knee into his neck and the third kneels on his back.
Ayers’ resignation comes just three weeks after a photo went viral showing a black-headed student on campus with two others kneeling on him in a reconstruction of George Floyd’s murder
The reenactment shows the three boys in the exact same position that Floyd was forced into during his murder by white officer Derek Chauvin and three other officers involved in the fatal arrest of the 46-year-old black man.
The third teen appeared to pretend to hold the boy black on the ground. Their photo was titled, “Bye bye seniors.”
The blond-haired student on the other teen’s neck is white. Their reenactment was first shared via a Change.org petition. It’s unclear when the photo was taken, though Mead High School’s graduation happened a month ago.
Days after the explosive photo went viral, protests erupted outside the school, while a Change.org petition demanding an end to racism on campus generated thousands of signatures.
The teens in the photo occupy the same position the black 46-year-old was forced into during his murder by white cop Derek Chauvin in May 2020 (above)
In a letter sent to parents this week, Don Haddad, Superintendent of the St. Vrain Valley School District, praised Ayers (above) for the 12 years she spent at the school as a teacher, assistant principal and principal.
Dozens of students staged a strike on May 21 to protest the photo demanding that the teens involved be deported. CBS Local.
Many protesters signed and chanted Black Lives Matter, accusing school officials of not properly disciplining the teens behind the racially charged image.
The three students were reportedly suspended for five days each.
Some protesters said the incident was just the latest in a string of racist incidents at the school, though they did not provide further details.
Sarah Steere, a 16-year-old sophomore who attended the protest, told CBS Local that she was “not surprised” by the “disgusting” photo.
“I took a screenshot (the photo) and sent it to the director. I was disgusted, ashamed, but not surprised,” she said.
“I want it to come from the parents first, because they teach their children to behave that way.”
Kara Bee, a 16-year-old sophomore, said she is one of the few black students at the largely white school and wants action to be taken against the incident.
“As one of the few black people here, I think it’s important to talk about these issues and not try to brush them off,” Bee said.
“The photo was disgusting. I was shocked. I thought people weren’t like that anymore. That was murder they’re making fun of.’
A change.org petition ‘Bring notice the racial profiling discrimination prevalent in MHS’ was launched last month and had more than 9,000 signatures as of Tuesday.
“It is unbelievable that there are still people who act so immature towards racism,” the petition reads.
“Everyone at our school represents Mead and it’s sad to see such students recreate a humiliating death for dishonoring themselves.”
The shocking photo was taken on the grounds of Mead High School in Colorado, where the three teens attend, and posted to Snapchat. Teens protest outside school on May 21
Dozens of students staged a strike on May 21 to protest the photo demanding that the teens involved be deported
Many carried Black Lives Matter signs and chanted, accusing school officials of not properly disciplining the teens behind the racially charged statue
The photo came to light this week and some students sent it to the school administration in disgust.
Ayers sent a message to parents on May 19 saying that the school was aware of the incident and “takes this type of behavior very seriously and an investigation into the matter has begun.”
“If you or your student saw this post on social media and would like to process any feelings it has brought up, our guidance staff is willing to provide additional support,” she said.
The SVVSD has started an investigation together with the local police.
Haddad issued a statement labeling the actions of the students involved as “disturbing and disgusting” and said the district has a zero-tolerance approach to racist behaviour.
A Change.org petition demanding an end to racism on campus had garnered thousands of signatures
Mead High School above. The St. Vrain Valley School District and local police are investigating the incident
“I was informed that a group of Mead High School students had made a disturbing and disgusting social media post depicting the reconstruction of the George Floyd murder,” he said in a statement posted to the website last month. of the district.
“We at St. Vrain Valley Schools do not strongly condemn or tolerate racism of any kind and will address this extremely serious matter immediately and accordingly.
“Our neighborhood reaffirms its commitment to diversity and equality in our schools and in our operations.”
Haddad did not share the disciplinary action taken against the students behind the stunt.
Meanwhile, Ayers said in a letter to parents on Thursday that the school had received a threat in connection with the racist photo.
The student responsible for the threat was identified and there was “no continued threat to the school community,” Ayers said.
The nature of the threat was not clear.
Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis cop Chauvin during a May 25 arrest for a counterfeit $20 bill
Chauvin is handcuffed after being found guilty of Floyd’s murder last month
The racist incident came less than two weeks after high school graduation.
It’s also just days before the one-year anniversary of the Memorial Day murder of Floyd.
Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis cop Chauvin during a May 25 arrest for a counterfeit $20 bill.
The officer knelt on his neck for over nine minutes as he begged for air and said, “I can’t breathe.”
Chauvin was found guilty of murder in April and is awaiting sentencing. The trial of the three other officers involved in Floyd’s death is scheduled for March 2022.
All four officers are also facing federal hate crime charges over Floyd’s death.