The school board and administration of Norfolk (Virginia) Public Schools is investigating allegations that an assistant principal retweeted a racially charged photo and caption that angered some students so much they walked out of classes in protest, WVEC-TV reported.
According to WAVY-TV, students said Assistant Principal Amy Strickland of Booker T. Washington High School retweeted a photo of seven couples in prom clothing — all the males are black and all the females are white — with the caption: “Every white girl’s father’s worst nightmare Or Nah?"
WAVY reported that the retweet — which originally came from the parody account @OrNahhTweets — was posted in June; WVEC noted students at the predominately black school didn't learn of the retweet until recently.
"Me being a young African-American, I don't think of myself as anyone's worst nightmare," student Michael Lemelle told WVEC as he held a sign outside the school with about a dozen other students Monday.
The students told WVEC they brought their concerns to other administrators as well as the school board, but after nothing happened protesting seemed to be the only way their voices could be heard.
"The students will even tell you, we don't want her to be fired because everybody needs a job," student Shakira Harris told WVEC. "Transfer her, punish her, do something to let us know it has not gone unnoticed."
"It shouldn't have come to this," Washington added to the station, "but she's avoided all meetings and public speakings and emails, just avoided them all."
Brand new at Booker T. Washington, Strickland was the 2014 Teacher of the Year for Portsmouth Public Schools and was also a cheerleading coach. Her bio on the school websites states that she "has an extreme passion for urban education and believes in promoting 21st century and critical thinking skills in all classrooms to prepare our students to become productive citizens within a global society. She looks forward to making a difference at, and serving the students of Booker T Washington."
The Norfolk branch of the NAACP said it won't tolerate racism.
"We hold the administration accountable for their actions," local NAACP President Joe W. Dillard noted to WVEC in a statement. "We will not tolerate racism in this city and definitely not in the education system. Booker T. Washington High School is a fragile school; and the last thing we need in our community are students walking out of school in protest to racist administrators."
While the school district had told WVEC it couldn't comment because it was a personnel matter, school board Chairman Dr. Kirk T. Houston Sr. said the issue was being addressed.
"The School Board is aware and takes the allegations seriously," he said in a Tuesday statement. "The Norfolk Public Schools administration is reviewing the matter for appropriate action."
WVEC added that the retweet disappeared shortly after the station asked the school district about it, and then the Twitter account the retweet came from was deleted.