Rachael Ayers (above), the principal at Mead High School in Longmont, Colorado, has resigned, it was announced on Monday
The principal of a Colorado high school has resigned three weeks after a photo went viral showing a student on campus grounds wearing blackface while two others knelt on him in a re-enactment of George Floyd’s murder.
Rachael Ayers’ resignation as principal at Mead High School in Longmont, some 35 miles north of Denver, was announced on Monday in a letter sent to parents by St. Vrain Valley School District Superintendent Don Haddad.
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 Frederick High School Principal Brian Young.
Haddad wrote in his letter that Young plans to reach out to the community to ‘discuss advancing student success and achievement with a focus on a safe and inclusive school environment and culture for every student, teacher, staff, and community member.’
The three teens ignited a firestorm of controversy last month for what some said was a ‘disturbing and disgusting’ re-enactment of Floyd’s death.
The photo, which was posted on Snapchat, shows one student in blackface lying on the ground, while another student presses their knee into his neck and the third kneels on his back.
The re-enactment shows the three boys in the very same position Floyd was forced into during his murder by white cop Derek Chauvin and three other officers involved in the 46-year-old black man’s fatal arrest.
The third teen appeared to be pretending to hold the boy in blackface down on the ground. Their photo was captioned: ‘Bye bye seniors.’
The blond-haired student on the other teen’s neck is white. Their re-enactment was first shared via a Change.org petition. It is unclear when the snap was taken, although Mead High School’s graduation took 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 at the campus generated thousands of signatures.
Ayers’ resignation comes just three weeks after a photo went viral showing a student on campus grounds wearing blackface while two others knelt on him in a re-enactment of George Floyd’s murder
The teens in the photo take on 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, St. Vrain Valley School District Superintendent Don Haddad praised Ayers (above) for the 12 years she spent at the school as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal
Dozens of students staged a walkout on May 21 in protest over the photo demanding the teens involved face expulsion, reported CBS Local.
Many protesters Black Lives Matter signs and chanted, as they accused school officials of failing to properly discipline the teens behind the racially charged image.
The three students were reportedly suspended for five days each.
Some protesters said the incident marked just the latest in a string of racist incidents at the school, although they did not offer further details.
Sarah Steere, a 16-year-old sophomore who attended the protest, told CBS Local she ‘wasn’t surprised’ by the ‘disgusting’ photo.
‘I screenshotted (the photo) and sent it to the principal. I was disgusted, embarrassed but wasn’t surprised,’ she said.
‘I want to see it come from the parents first because they’re teaching their kids to act like this.’
Kara Bee, a 16-year-old sophomore, said she is one of the only black students in the largely white school and wants action to be taken about the incident.
‘As one of the only black people here, I think it’s important to speak up about these issues and not just kick them under the rug,’ Bee said.
‘The picture was disgusting. I was shocked. I didn’t think people were like that anymore. That was murder they’re making fun of.’
A Change.org petition ‘Bringing the racial profiling discrimination that occurs at MHS to notice’ was set up last month and had more than 9,000 signatures as of Tuesday.
‘It’s unbelievable that there are still people acting so immature towards racism,’ the petition reads.
‘Everyone in our school represents Mead and having such students re-created a humiliating death, as they dishonor themselves is sad.’
The shocking image was taken on the grounds of Mead High School in Colorado, which the three teens attend, and posted on Snapchat. Teens protest outside the school on May 21
Dozens of students staged a walkout on May 21 in protest over the photo demanding the teens involved face expulsion
Many carried Black Lives Matter signs and chanted, as they accused school officials of failing to properly discipline the teens behind the racially charged image
The photo came to light this week, with some students sending it on to the school administration in disgust.
Ayers sent a message to parents on May 19 saying the school was aware of the incident and takes ‘this type of conduct very seriously and have begun an investigation into the matter.’
‘If you or your student saw this social media post and would like to process any feelings it may have brought forward, our counseling staff is prepared to provide additional support,’ she said.
The SVVSD launched an investigation alongside local police.
Haddad issued a statement blasting the actions of the students involved as ‘disturbing and disgusting’ and said the district has a zero tolerance approach to racist behavior.
A Change.org petition demanding an end to racism at the campus had reached thousands of signatures
Mead High School above. The St. Vrain Valley School District and local police are investigating the incident
‘It was brought to my attention that a disturbing and disgusting social media post depicting the re-enactment of the murder of George Floyd was made by a group of students from Mead High School,’ he said in a post on the district’s website last month.
‘We in the St. Vrain Valley Schools strongly condemn, and have no tolerance for, racism in any form and will be addressing this extremely serious matter immediately and accordingly.
‘Our district reaffirms its commitment to diversity and equality in our schools and in our operations.’
Haddad did not share what disciplinary action had been taken against the students behind the stunt.
Meanwhile, Ayers said in a letter to parents Thursday that the school had received a threat in connection to the racist photo.
The student responsible for the threat was identified and there was ‘no ongoing threat to the school community,’ Ayers said.
The nature of the threat was not clear.
Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police officer Chauvin during an arrest over a $20 counterfeit bill on May 25
Chauvin is led away in handcuffs after being found guilty of Floyd’s murder last month
The racist incident came less than two weeks after graduation at the high school.
It is also just days before the one-year anniversary of Floyd’s Memorial Day murder.
Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police officer Chauvin during an arrest over a $20 counterfeit bill on May 25.
The cop knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes while he begged for air saying ‘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 set for March 2022.
All four officers also face federal hate crime charges over Floyd’s death.