Mead HS students call on school leaders to ‘combat racism’ after photo controversy

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DENVER (KDVR) — A group of Mead High School students is calling on school officials to do more to ‘combat racism’ after a controversial photo circulated on social media. The photo appears to show several students re-enacting the murder of George Floyd. Floyd’s death sparked social movements and police reform across the country.

“I have to say it but when I heard about the photo I wasn’t surprised,” said Adah McMillan, an editor with the student-run newspaper, ‘The Mav’. 

McMillan helped put together the editorial that was published shortly after the photo surfaced on social media. Joya Haskin, Miles Michel and Arizona Lee also contributed.

“It’s important at least for us as journalists to not stay silent on something this serious, this big,” said Lee.

A portion of the article reads:

“We are disgusted that something like this was done at all, let alone by people that sit next to us in class. Whether their intention was to make some grand political statement or they were just messing around, the actions of the students in the photo were objectively wrong.”

-THE MAV, mAY 20, 2021

In the editorial, students express frustrations with their peers for not understanding the “full extent of racism’s manifestations and why they are wrong.”

“They had every opportunity to rethink it, and everybody does. Everybody around them could have done something in that situation to stop it. And that’s kind of where this whole need for change comes from,” said Michel. 

The students believe this incident highlights a divide in their community and their school when it comes to issues of racism. They feel change should start inside the classroom.

“Even just mention in classes, not shy away from the word racism. Not shy away from the concept of racism and be willing to discuss systemic racism,” said Lee.

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