TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Hundreds of students took part in mass school walkout to protest a video uploaded by three white classmates dressed in blackface and use of racial slurs by them.
In footage posted to Snapchat, the boys, who were later confirmed to be students of Homewood-Flossmoor High School, are seen harassing a black cashier at a McDonald’s drive thru while mocking African-American English, RT reported. Seventy percent of the school’s roughly 2,800 students are black.
Homewood Mayor Rich Hofeld and Flossmoor Mayor Paul Braun issued a joint statement condemning the boys’ behavior, while students at their school were afforded a 50-minute period Tuesday to protest.
“Please know that we understand your frustration,” school principal Jerry Lee Anderson wrote in a letter to parents on Tuesday. “The diversity of our communities represents our greatest strength and will be the catalyst that brings us together.”
However, the school has not provided additional details about the incident or how it intends to discipline the students responsible. Indeed, it remains unclear what legal right the school has to punish the children for their behavior off-campus given the protections afforded by the First Amendment which protects freedom of speech, however unsavory or offensive.
For this reason, commentators online have expressed disbelief at the situation and at the school administration’s response.
Some called for the parents of the offending children to be punished.
While others issued calls for the children’s identities to be shared, in a similar fashion to the Covington High School controversy.
Meanwhile, the boys involved have pleaded ignorance that blackface was offensive at all, which has already been disputed by their classmates.
“We were in the same class and we were taught (about blackface), so that’s how I know that they know what it is, so that’s just an invalid excuse,” an unnamed fellow student told the Chicago Tribune.