A student at Cheyenne Mountain High School has been suspended and is facing possible expulsion for posting on Snapchat a racially charged meme he created with a classmate's face on it, Superintendent Walt Cooper said Wednesday.
The image, taken from the internet and manipulated to include the male student's face, says, "Around Blacks Never Relax," and has a caricature holding a knife.
Cooper said there was never any physical threat made to harm the student whose photo was pictured, and by the students' admission, they were not friends.
"That type of hate speech and insensitivity is not tolerated, and it's a real credit to our kids, who stood up and said that's not right," Cooper said.
The target of the incident, a junior who's a football and wrestling athlete, is angry, and it's hard to get him to go to school, said his mother, Urieda Weathington.
"His guard is definitely up, more than it would have been two weeks ago," she said, adding that her son had never felt unsafe at the school before and neither had his two sisters, who also attend Cheyenne Mountain High.
The incident occurred last week, and as the post circulated among the student body, another student took a screenshot of the image and reported it to a dean of students, according to Cooper.
"We are completing our due diligence in the process, as required by law," he said.
Weathington said she is not happy about the way the incident has been handled.
She said she received a screenshot of the post from one of her son's friends, who asked her to come to the school to calm him down.
She said she met with administrators and was disappointed in their response.
"If I wouldn't have brought it to the attention of the school, nothing would have been done," Weathington said. "They didn't even know about it. No idea."
Though the student who posted the image, whom Weathington described as Hispanic, was suspended, she worries that there is a culture of racism growing unchecked at the school. She said she has since received messages from several other parents at the school who say their children also been the target of racial slurs in the hallway and lunchroom.
Cooper said the district does not normally have many racially motivated disciplinary problems.
"I don't think there's anyone more angry about this than the students," Cooper said.