In this photo illustration, the Snapchat app is used on an iPhone in London in 2014.
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

A South Carolina independent college-preparatory school has launched an investigation after attention was drawn to a photo circulating of black students with nooses stenciled around their necks, the Greenville News reports.  

The headmaster at Christ Church Episcopal School, Leonard Kupersmith, said that the photo was created on Snapchat and was shared via text messages before coming to the attention of officials.

According to the news site, the photo in question shows four high school boys sitting next to one another in the classroom; the photo has been altered with nooses drawn around their necks. There is also a swastika in one corner of the picture.

In an email sent to parents Tuesday, Kupersmith denounced the “repugnant act” and detailed that the photo had been “modified in a vile manner,” the Greenville News notes.

“We are appalled by this photograph,” he wrote in his email. “It is contradictory to who Christ Church Episcopal School is and what we stand for. CCES respects racial, religious, and ethnic diversity. We are a close-knit, faith-based, and caring community.”

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School officials reportedly spent Tuesday interviewing students and say that they believe they know who is behind the creation and dissemination of the photo. But Kupersmith said that the investigation is not completed; nor has a punishment been decided.

He described the act as a “foolish and ill-considered adolescent mistake” and pointed to the individual’s lack of cultural awareness for not knowing how the image would be perceived and received.

Read more at USA Today.