Four teachers in California decided to get cute and pose with a noose. Now, their bosses will decide if they, along with their principal, will receive their direct deposits from the school district or state unemployment.
In the photo, originally shared online free of caption or context, was taken and initially distributed by the Summerwing Elementary School Principal Linda Brandits, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Palmdale School District is investigating the incident and issued a statement through Superintendent Raul Maldonado.
Maldonado never identified the teachers involved.
“I am appalled that this incident occurred,” Maldonado said. “I am committed to the Palmdale Promise’s values of equity, integrity, and multiculturalism, and I know that most of the district believe[s] in the same values the Promise upholds. We will not allow the hurtful actions of a few hold back our district’s pledge to do right by our community.”
“It’s appalling, it’s frustrating, it’s beyond words,” one parent told CBS News.
“You know the meaning behind it, behind our history. And you know you’re going to get backlash for it if it gets out. And obviously it did,” one parent James Florence said. He identified one of the teacher holding the noose as Miss Jones, who he “heard she actually was a pretty good teacher for 20-some-odd years.”
Another woman, Jennifer Garcia, is known for deifying the abuse and murder trial of an 8-year-old boy named Gabriel Fernandez, testifying that she could tell the child was being abused at home. Gabriel’s mother is serving life; her boyfriend received the death penalty.
Two parents, whose daughter has class with Garcia, said teachers demanded Garcia leave, and that she obliged, according to CBS Los Angeles, though the school would not comment.
One parent, outraged at the photo, told the Antelope Valley Press that she kept her 10-year-old daughter from school afterward.
“We are disgusted. Absolutely disgusted,” said the mother, Breyson Clemmons “We drop our kids off with the idea that we are sending them to a culturally competent institution for learning. We think that we’re sending them to a school; they’re safe. Never do we think we’re sending them to a plantation where they got nooses hanging up, and holding on to nooses. Taking pictures and smiling, where’s the humor?”