The Martin County School District has finished its investigation into the inappropriate, racist photograph that was posted earlier this week. Our investigation included interviewing all students involved in the incident, the principal, the teacher whose class was used to create the photograph and others, as well as reviewing the metadata involved in the photograph and surveillance video from the school.
As we shared earlier this week, we are extremely saddened to confirm that the photograph is authentic and was not photoshopped or otherwise manipulated. We have confirmed that no school personnel were involved in or knowledgeable about the students’ planning, photographing and posting of the picture on social media.
Federal and state law prohibit the District from disclosing student education records, which include any specific student’s identification or any discipline imposed. We assure our community, however, that the District will address this incident consistent with its adopted policies as stated in the Code of Student Conduct.
We are deeply aware of the hurt and pain this photograph has caused our community, especially our Black American residents and students. As we have said previously, this incident is in complete opposition to our values and the ideals that we instill in our students.
We are providing counseling to any Hidden Oaks Middle School student in need and are working on longer-range plans to work with community partners to help heal the harm this incident has caused. We wholeheartedly understand the crucial importance of nurturing a continued dialogue in our community, specifically including our students, to create and foster a learning environment and community free of bigotry, hate and racism.
John D. Millay, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools