An Oklahoma school district is apologizing after one of its high school students posted a racist picture of a classmate to social media during an event to teach students about tolerance.
During an assembly at Charter High School on Wednesday, which featured a production put on by students to teach “positive peer relationships,” an unidentified student took a photo of a black classmate dressed in a prisoner uniform and posted it to their Snapchat with the caption, “N—– for auction in Chandler Oklahoma, starting bid $50.” Just below the picture, the student placed an image of the Confederate flag.
The post quickly went viral after others posted snapshots of the picture to social media, including Ashley Warner, who said in a Facebook post that she is a family friend of the student in the picture.
“My blood is absolutely boiling,” she wrote on the day of the event. “This is just ridiculous! I know bullying happens, I was bullied all throughout school, but it seems to happen a lot more in Chandler Schools then it should.”
Her message received a large response from the community, garnering more than 6,000 shares and 900 comments from people expressing outrage about the photo and its derogatory remarks.
“I’m so sick of this racism s— and disgusted that it’s 2018 and we still let our children call other children ‘n——,’ ” Warner continued. “Absolutely unacceptable.”
In a statement to PEOPLE, Chandler Public Schools confirmed the incident and called the language in the Snapchat picture “hateful and demeaning.”
“Chandler Public Schools experienced a deeply disturbing incident on Wednesday, April 25. During a Positive Peers school assembly, a student Snapchatted a picture of another student, who was acting out a role designed specifically for educating students regarding the importance of positive peer relationships,” the statement reads. “The student also included with the picture highlight alarming language that was hateful and demeaning.”
The district said the conduct of the student is not repetitive throughout the school system and stressed that officials will continue to “lean in” on educating students about bullying.
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“The District has no tolerance for hateful depictions and captions regarding any student and has and will continue to address this unacceptable, despicable behavior whenever it occurs,” the statement continued. “In addition, districts officials will lean in with an even greater emphasis on educating students regarding no tolerance for actions or words that threaten, harass or bully others because of color.”
Chandler Public Schools said federal and state laws prohibit them from disclosing the disciplinary action toward the student who posted the picture but indicated that the “student responsible for this behavior is not at school.”
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In their statement to PEOPLE, Chandler Public Schools apologized to the family of the victim depicted in the Snapchat picture.
“Our deepest apologies are extended to the student who was the victim of this shameful behavior by another student,” the statement continued. “As a district, we will do our utmost to support this student and the student’s family in standing against actions and speech that hurts and belittles other individuals.”
The controversy follows the removal of 18 fraternity members from Syracuse University in April after footage showed them performing in what the university chancellor called “racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, ableist and sexist” activities, and the expulsion of a University of Alabama sorority member who posted a series of racist videos to social media on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January.