ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Two Volcano Vista High School students could be facing hate crime charges after a picture was posted on social media. Both parents and staff say it’s appalling.
It shows two African American high school students in a Volcano Vista classroom, surrounded by students in KKK hoods.
The picture quickly spread through social media after the Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent says two high school juniors posted it on the Snapchat app Tuesday.
“This is not acceptable,” said Superintendent Raquel Reedy.
Volcano Vista Principal Vicki Bannerman says the image was brought to her attention by a student minutes after it was posted.
“A friend of her’s on campus made her aware of a picture that was posted in a Snapchat group and as soon as she was aware, she came to me,” said Bannerman.Read: Letter to parents from Volcano Vista High School >>
The picture was taken in a math class, and the students doctored it to add the KKK hoods. Bannerman tracked down the two students responsible and had the image removed immediately.
“Students were suspended for 10 days. One of them was on the football team and in essence, is off for this,” said Superintendent Reedy.
Principal Bannerman says the students posted the picture as a joke, and they didn’t think it would cause any negative reaction. She insists they were sorry for what they did.
“They do not have, what I thought to be a malicious spirit, they just made a very very poor choice,” said Bannerman.
For parents like Jonathan Recio, he doesn’t buy the apologies.
“I feel they’re only sorry because they got caught. That’s my personal opinion. When it comes to racism like that, to that extent, that’s very inappropriate,” he said.
The superintendent of APS says it’s not a laughing matter.
“When our police went out and investigated, that it was such a serious matter, that we’re seriously considering filing charges of a hate crime,” she said.
The mother of one of the African American students in the picture posted the photo online. She says she doesn’t understand why her daughter was targeted, and that she’s afraid to go to school.
The principal says the staff is working with the students in that class to make sure they feel safe.
APS hasn’t said when it will decide if the students will face charges.