BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Three Baltimore-area private schools have released statements after racially-insensitive pictures of Halloween costumes worn by students were shared online over the weekend.
In one of the photos, two white students appear to be dressed as inmates. The caption contains a racial epithet and says they “broke out.”
In another, a white person appears to be dressed as an inmate, and the name on the back of his jumpsuit reads “Freddie Gray.” The caption reads “ur going to jail tonight.”
In the final picture, a white man without a shirt on has a racial epithet and swastikas drawn on his back.
Current and former students from as many as five private schools in the Baltimore area could be involved in the incident.
WJZ has learned that the boy and girl in the photo on the left are juniors at Roland Park Country School and Gilman School. The person in the Freddie Gray jumpsuit is a former Boys’ Latin School student. And the boy without a shirt is a student at St. Paul’s School.
The person who gathered the photos and posted them on Facebook in an effort to shame the behavior claims one of the original posters of the photos goes to Mount Saint Joseph High School.
“It’s like, really good that we have these conversations, because it lets us learn,” said student Yemisi Ojolayo. “My teacher, she was going off about how racism is taught, and how they are influenced by social media and their parents, and many other people.”
“Know that we take any situation involving our students seriously, and this is no exception,” representatives from Gilman School and Roland Park Country School wrote in a joint statement Monday. “Please understand that many involved in this situation are minors and we respectfully remind you of this as we work through the details.”
The statement from the schools also clarifies the following points:
• The two photographs were taken at different functions and combined together into one social media post
• The young man shown in the picture with the young lady, where they are both dressed as inmates, is not the same young man who is seen in the single photo bearing the name Freddie Gray
• The people who wrote the captions seen in the pictures are not students at either Gilman School or Roland Park Country School
• The young man who took the photo of the two minors is not a student at either Gilman School or Roland Park Country School
• The young man who combined the two photos and posted them on social media is not a student at either Gilman School or Roland Park Country School
St. Paul’s School has also released a statement:
“St. Paul’s School does not tolerate any form of hate or discrimination. The School is investigating an incident that occurred off campus and outside of school hours, and will take the necessary and appropriate steps. Privacy policies do not permit us to provide any further information. We remain committed to fostering an inclusive community whose members respect themselves and one another.”
WJZ reached out to Boys’ Latin School for a statement, but have yet to hear back.