PALM CITY, Fla. (AP) — A half-dozen Florida students posed for a photo outside a middle school while holding large letters that spelled out a racial slur, school officials said.
The school will follow its code of student conduct in responding to the pupils' action, Martin County School District Superintendent John Millay said in a statement Thursday. He explained that state and federal laws prevent the district from identifying the students or releasing any other specific information about possible punishment. No school personnel were involved, the statement added.
“We are deeply aware of the hurt and pain this photograph has caused our community, especially our Black American residents and students,” Millay said. “This incident is in complete opposition to our values and the ideals that we instill in our students.”
The photo shows six students standing in a line outside Hidden Oaks Middle School in Palm City, a community located about 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of West Palm Beach. Each student is holding a large, hand-painted letter, and the students have arranged themselves so that the letters spell out a racial slur. The photo was posted to social media earlier this week, officials said.
The district is providing counseling to any students who need it, officials said.