VERMONTVILLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A Michigan superintendent says racism won't be tolerated after a photo surfaced of a local high school student asking another student to prom with a racially offensive sign.
Maple Valley High School in Vermontville Township is facing backlash for a photo on Instagram that shows two students holding a sign that reads, "If I was black id be picking cotton ... but im white so im picking you for prom?" Signs with the same message also triggered backlash in in Florida and Missouri.
Superintendent Michelle Falcon issued a statement Monday saying the Michigan district took "appropriate action." She said she couldn't publicly detail any consequences, but added: "When social media disrupts education, that's a problem." The students' names weren't released.
Maple Valley has six black students, which amounts to less than 0.5 percent of the student body, and roughly 6.4 percent of the school district's 1,065 students are racial or ethnic minorities, according to a Michigan Department of Education report.
A student at the school, Grace Guernsey, said she was appalled by the photo but that it wasn't the first time she's experienced racism in the school district.
"I hope that this time the school listens and actually does something," she said. "Students have been bringing it up for a while now."
Stephen Corwin, a parent of Maple Valley High School students, said he wasn't surprised by the post and that racism is an ongoing issue in the district.
"You can't fix the problem overnight," Corwin said. "This is going to take years and years of sensitivity, education and understanding. It's got to start with the parents."