Investigation continues into controversial photo of Barrington High students

  • Barrington Area Unit District 220 officials continue to investigate the circumstances of a controversial photograph of eight high school students that surfaced on social media last week.

      Barrington Area Unit District 220 officials continue to investigate the circumstances of a controversial photograph of eight high school students that surfaced on social media last week. Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 7/19/2017 9:40 AM

Barrington Area Unit District 220 officials continue to investigate the circumstances of a controversial photograph of eight high school students that surfaced on social media last week.

District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris said officials easily identified the eight girls in the group image as Barrington High School students after being made aware of it July 11. Some current and former students contended the photo was racist and brought it to the district's attention, officials said.

 

"We've met with parents and with kids, but we're not done yet," Harris said before Tuesday night's school board meeting. "We're in the process of it."

District 220 board President Brian Battle said he's heard from concerned parents and students. He also said there has been a negative interpretation of the image "that I know the girls in the photo feel is unfair to them."

"Clearly, some of the alleged intent of the photo are things that the school district doesn't agree with," Battle added. "Parents and students want to know what the school district is going to do about it."

No one addressed the District 220 school board about the controversial social media photo during public comment time at Tuesday's meeting.

Harris said the image had nothing to do with Barrington High. Because some of the identified students in the photo are involved in school-sanctioned activities, he said, a 24-hour-a-day code of conduct could apply to them.

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Similar to other schools, Barrington High has a code of conduct for students involved in athletics and other extracurricular activities. As part of a lengthy list, students are warned to not use alcohol or tobacco, not act in an unsportsmanlike manner or to behave in a way detrimental to the good of the group or school.

"So we will follow our district process in regard to the co-curricular code," Harris said, "and see if it (the photo) violated any of the expectations there."

If any discipline were taken against the students, Battle said, it's unknown if it would be publicly announced.

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