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Chicken, watermelon at school ‘auction’ cause upset

WEST ALEXANDRIA, Preble County — A bucket of chicken and a watermelon used by a student as props during an annual senior “auction” at Twin Valley South High School this week has some parents upset and the district reviewing the annual event.

“We’re the adults…we have to hold ourselves to a higher level of accountability, and in this case, we didn’t do a good job,” Clint Moore, Twin Valley Community Local School District superintendent said Thursday afternoon.

Each year at the high school, members of the senior class “auction” themselves to the highest bidding teachers and students. It’s a fundraiser the senior class uses to help finance their graduation ceremony — fees, decorations and other costs.

“Some of the teachers use them for errands…students use them to carry book bags and do various things for them,” Moore said.

Some of the students being auctioned bring gifts, gift bags or food items to hold while they’re being auctioned off, to heighten their ability to raise money, Moore said.

Wednesday, parents called WHIO-TV to register complaints about the props one senior used during the auction.

School officials said the student, a bi-racial male, was dressed normally but used as props a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and a watermelon.

When asked about what happened with this particular student, Moore said, “These particular props, obviously have lot of racial connotations, and we understand that and it should not have been allowed…and it should have been intervened.

“The student’s props should have been reviewed ahead of his walking out on stage, Moore said. “Should he have been asked to go back? Absolutely,” Moore said.

He called it “poor judgment…Possibly, yeah…I, honestly, would think so.”

It is impossible to report with certainty whether the props upset any students in the school or the senior class, which numbers 40 or so. But one freshman said the dust-up is much ado about nothing.

Pailyn Brierly said she attended the assembly, knows the student and wasn’t offended.

“I honestly don’t think it’s worth addressing because it was just all in high school fun,” she said.

Moore said the senior who used the props was in classes Thursday, and Moore said he hopes to use the incident as a teaching tool.

He also said the incident remains under review so the district “can do what needs to be done now that we know it was viewed in a negative light.”

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