A 15-year-old California high school student discovered a shocking picture of herself with a noose drawn around her neck posted in a chemistry chat room for Los Angeles’ Palisades Charter High School.
“Oh, my God, it’s me being lynched,” Aina Adewunmi told CBS Los Angeles. “Looking at an image of yourself like that hurts.”
Aina is new to Palisades, having just transferred to the charter school in January. She said she’d mostly felt welcomed and accepted by students there, but three boys in particular started to use racial slurs.
“They added me to their group chat and then started using the n-word,” Aina said, according to the New York Daily News. “I said they can’t use the word, and that’s when I thought I set the boundary.”
But the picture surfaced, and Aina said she realized that the boys had continued their highly inappropriate and racist behavior. The picture that was used had been taken days before without her knowledge.
“I got up and told the principal immediately and nipped it in the bud,” she said.
“When I saw my child depicted like that, it was hurtful,” her mother, Tracy Adewunmi, added.
The boys involved in the posting of the picture were suspended for the last few days of the school year and did apologize, but Aina’s mother is not satisfied with the steps taken.
“The first step is remove the boys from the school; they cannot be allowed to come back,” Tracy Adewunmi told CBS Los Angeles. “The second step is to educate the population to let the people know that this behavior is not acceptable.”
The police are investigating the incident, and the family has hired an attorney. Aina also told the Daily News that her request not to be in class with the boys again has been granted.
Despite all she’s gone through, Aina remains strong and determined to enjoy her school life.
“I think Pali is a good school,” Aina told CBS Los Angeles. “I’m happy I moved and I won’t be leaving, but this is something that needs to be stopped because it has happened in the past. I knew if I didn’t come out with this story, it would happen over and over again.”