Five California elementary school educators have been placed on leave after the principal allegedly emailed out a photo of four teachers posing with a noose.
The image of the teachers at Summerwind Elementary in Palmdale, 70 miles north of Los Angeles, was originally emailed May 1 by the school’s principal, Linda Brandts, NBC News reported.
The picture of the teachers with the noose and a picture of just the noose were sent to staff with no accompanying text, staff who didn’t wish to be named told KTTV-TV. Both pictures were shared to social media, where they’ve been shared hundreds of times.
The pictures have sparked outrage. Some parents are calling on the teachers and principal to be fired.
"You know the meaning behind it, behind our history. And you know you're going to get backlash for it if it gets out. And obviously it did," parent James Florence told CBS News.
Palmdale Schools Superintendent Raul Maldonado said all five educators have been placed on administrative leave as the district investigates.
"The Palmdale School District holds all employees to the highest standards and expectations," Maldonado said in a statement to NBC News. "We will not stop until we find out exactly what did occur. We will not tolerate this type of behavior in our schools."
Latinos make up 58.6 percent of the city of Palmdale’s population, NBC News reported, citing recent census data. Whites make up 22.1 percent and blacks 12.5 percent.
Summerwind Elementary’s student population is about one-third black, and Hispanics make up another third, teacher Michele Lemaire told KTTV-TV. However, she said the school has few black teachers.
“The lack of people of color teaching is a huge issue,” Lemaire said. “The need is great, but apparently It’s not being addressed. But there seems to be a sorting of who should be working here.”