Carmel Catholic High School condemns student's racist social media post

  • Officials at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein are condemning a student's racist social media post that surfaced over the weekend and promised "seriously disciplinary actions."

    Officials at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein are condemning a student's racist social media post that surfaced over the weekend and promised "seriously disciplinary actions." Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, 2018

 
 
Updated 4/16/2019 4:31 PM

Carmel Catholic High School officials have condemned a photograph shared on social media that depicts two female students with darkened faces alongside a caption containing a racial slur.

The student who made the Snapchat post, whose name was not released by the Mundelein private school, will face "serious disciplinary actions," according to a statement from the school administration. Officials declined to elaborate.

 

The second girl in the photo was "totally unaware" of the post until afterward, Principal Jason Huther said. Her name hasn't been released, either.

Carmel officials said the photo was posted this weekend after the pair got spray tans. The photo was reposted on social media or commented upon by many people who were shocked by the image and the caption.

Carmel officials became aware of the photograph Sunday afternoon, Principal Jason Huther said. School officials called the comment accompanying the photo "extremely offensive."

"As a school community, we condemn racism and discriminatory behavior against all people in any form," Carmel officials said in a prepared statement. "We find this post to be very disturbing and counter to our school community's values and beliefs. We will work with our students to ensure lasting growth within the community as a result of this unfortunate post."

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Officials identified the student who posted the photo and met with her family, according to the school's statement. They spoke with the other girl and her family, too, Huther said.

The student who posted the photo subsequently expressed "deep regret" and apologized, the statement said.

Carmel officials met with student groups Monday "to hear their thoughts and to discuss a way to promote growth as a result of this situation," the school's statement indicated.

"Although our response was united in condemnation, there are still those hurt by racism and exclusion, and we are making efforts to listen," the statement read. "Our school community will come together and encourage a stronger student culture as a result."

The post attracted attention from beyond the Carmel High community.

Mundelein High School senior Khari Thompkins shared the photo on Twitter, criticizing the racism it contained. Thompkins, who leads Mundelein High's Black Student Union, said students at her school were emotionally affected by the original post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"My heart goes out to all the kids affected by this act of ignorance," Thompkins said. "They shouldn't feel unwanted in a place where they come to gain their education."

Mundelein Trustee Dawn Abernathy is a Carmel alumnus, as is her husband and daughter. She said Carmel doesn't teach or condone racism or divisiveness.

"I pray for healing of the entire Carmel Catholic Community," Abernathy said.

Carmel Catholic isn't the first suburban high school to deal with allegations of racism on social media.

In 2018, disciplinary action was taken against a Mundelein High School student who was filmed at school wearing six small earrings that, when put together, spelled a racial slur. The video was shared on social media.

In 2017, Barrington High School officials investigated a photo of students that had been shared on social media and that some people considered racist. None of the students were disciplined.

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