Two Issaquah High School students are under investigation after a racially insensitive photo surfaced over the weekend. Courtesy photo

Two Issaquah High School students are under investigation after a racially insensitive photo surfaced over the weekend. Courtesy photo

Racially insensitive sign sparks investigation in Issaquah

High school students under investigation after Tolo photo goes viral.

A picture has been circulating on social media showing two Issaquah High School (IHS) students posing next to a sign with a racially insensitive message.

According to an anonymous IHS student, a female student asked a male student to a school dance with a sign. The sign read: “[Name of male student]…If I was black I’d be picking cotton, but instead I pick you. Tolo?” The dance was held on March 30.

Both students pictured are not students of color.

Issaquah School District (ISD) superintendent, Dr. Ron Thiele, released a statement regarding the social media post Monday morning.

“We are deeply troubled, discouraged and, quite frankly, appalled by the racially insensitive social media post involving Issaquah High School students. The words and actions of the students involved are not consistent with our beliefs and values as a district and we are truly saddened by the negative impact this has had on our entire community, particularly our students of color,” Thiele said in a statement.

The Issaquah school board also released a statement expressing its disappointment of the event.

“The board wants to publicly express our disappointment and to affirm that every student in our district deserves to attend a school environment free from racism,” the board statement said. “This unfortunate incident will provide an opportunity to deepen our conversation on both creating an educational experience free from racism and appropriate use of social media. We know that our district leadership is equally committed to the academic and social-emotional well-being of each and every student in our District.”

ISD recently adopted its equity policy (ISD Executive Limitation 16 – Equity), saying the district is committed to establishing and maintaining an environment and culture that values and respects the diversity of its students and staff.

“It is our duty and our desire that every student and staff member has access to an inclusive, welcoming, and safe learning environment,” Thiele said in the statement.

The school district is conducting a full investigation and “will take appropriate steps to address this unfortunate situation and to learn and grow from it.”


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