Racist Homecoming Invitation Sign Investigated By Kansas Schools

Two schools in Kansas are investigating the origins of a viral social media post showing a pair of students holding a racist homecoming dance proposal sign.

The post, which first surfaced on Twitter last week, shows a white boy and girl posing for a picture holding the sign, which reads: "If I were Black, I'd be picking cotton. But I'm white, so I'm picking you for HOCO [homecoming]."

The two teenagers who feature in the post have since been identified as pupils from Olathe South High School and St. James Academy in Lenexa.

Both schools have pledged to conduct a thorough investigation of the post.

Over the weekend, Shane Rapp, the principal of St. James Academy—a private Catholic high school—sent out a letter to parents and students addressing the matter.

"We wanted to let you know that we are aware of an offensive post on social media that included an SJA student," the letter said.

"We are currently investigating the situation to determine the appropriate next steps."

The letter, which was also posted to the school's social media channels, described the sign as "explicitly racist in nature" and "an assault on human dignity."

It concluded by asking that parents have "a conversation" with their children about racism and "the importance of seeing each individual as their neighbor."

We are aware of an offensive post on social media that included one SJA student. Racism in any form is an assault on human dignity.

This is what was sent to our parents and students earlier today. pic.twitter.com/UNvwnHBmOJ

— St. James Academy Catholic HS - Lenexa, KS (@SJAThunder) September 25, 2021

Olathe South Principal Dale Longenecker also issued a statement to parents and students promising to "thoroughly investigate" the sign and speak with all of the parties involved.

"The type of behavior displayed in the social media post does not meet the expectations of our core values," he said. "Any behavior like this will be immediately addressed in accordance with our Student Code of Conduct."

The mother of the female student who features in the picture issued a response via KSHB apologizing for her daughter's actions.

Rhonda Windholz told the news outlet that an "African-American boy" made the sign adding that while this "by no means makes it right" it does at least "shed some light on the situation."

She said her daughter was simply "caught up in the excitement of being asked to her first-ever homecoming" and was given the sign to hold, only later "comprehending the situation."

Windholz said her daughter had received death threats since the post went viral and had been told to "kill herself" by numerous people.

She also apologized for the "misunderstanding" and insisted her family "believe that all lives matter."

Newsweek has contacted St James Academy and Olathe South High School for comment.

The incident has come to light during the same month in which a teacher in Massachusetts was allowed to return to his job after initially being fired last year over racist comments allegedly made on Facebook.

A cardboard sign being held up.
Stock photo of a cardboard sign - a homemade placard featuring a racist message has sparked a major investigation. m-gucci/Getty