A high-school student in Kansas City has sparked outrage with his vehemently racist homecoming proposal that went viral on social media.
As part of the proposal, the boy presented the girl last week with a bigoted banner that read, “If I was Black, I would be picking cotton, but I’m white so I’m picking you” for homecoming. Cotton balls were also plastered to the sign, which had boxes for the girl to check either “yes” or “no.”
In a photo, the two students stand shoulder-to-shoulder, posing close to one another while happily sharing the sign and holding it up in plain view. The image shows the “yes” box has been checked.
The student and his potential date have since been called out for racism—but the girl’s mom is standing up for her, saying her daughter was just “caught up” in the excitement of homecoming.
“Caught up in the excitement of being asked to her first ever homecoming, our daughter held the sign that was given to her,” Rhonda Windholz told KSHB 41 in Kansas City. “It was only after actually comprehending the situation, that she realized what was happening. She blatantly said no!! By then, it was too late.”
The mother also claimed that “one Caucasian and one African-American boy were involved.” She even alleged “the African-American boy... actually made the sign.”
After attempting to redirect blame, Windholz said, “Please know that we have diversity in our own family and believe that all lives matter. We have received many death threats and numerous people have told our daughter to kill herself.”
Her half-hearted apology concluded, “The response to this misunderstanding has caused much confusion and pain for many. We sincerely apologize to all who are offended.”
But not everyone is buying the mea culpa.
“The mother is ridiculous, and shows her ignorance by saying all lives matter,” a Twitter user posted.
“Disgusting,” a user tweeted. “This is a reflection of their classless, racist upbringing. If the kids act like this, imagine how the parents act. I’m beyond disgusted by their behavior. They better get expelled and no homecoming.”
The two children in the photo are students of St. James Academy, a private Catholic high school, and Olathe South High School. St. James sent a letter to families, alerting them that an investigation is being conducted over the incident and urging parents to talk with their kids about racism.
“The post included a sign that was explicitly racist in nature,” St. James officials said in a press release. “Our Catholic faith demands we see one another with the dignity due to sons and daughters of God…all therefore share an equal dignity.”
Olathe’s officials also communicated to parents of students that they are looking into the issue.
“The type of behavior displayed in the social media post does not meet the expectations of our core values,” the school’s principal said in a statement. ”Any behavior like this will be immediately addressed in accordance with our Student Code of Conduct.”
Meanwhile, the Olathe chapter of the NAACP also wants to investigate the incident and use it as a learning opportunity.
“That’s a time to educate, not to criticize or crucify,” said the NAACP chapter president, Henry Lyons. “[It’s] just an educational opportunity, not a time to fix blame.”