Saint Gertrude High School in Virginia is at the center of controversy after a student wearing the school’s uniform posted a photo on social media wearing “blackface.”
While the Head of School, Sister Cecilia Dwyer, called the photo “shocking,” some past students and parents are alleging that racial abuse has happened at the school before, the Atlanta Black Star reports.
The person in the photo is wearing the uniform of the private all-girls Catholic school and a mask of a CPR manikin with the N-word captioned below.
A woman claiming to be a former student said she endured racism while enrolled, and the school “didn’t do anything.”
“Ok soooo St. Gertrude High School in Richmond Va, how are y’all going to handle this??” she tweeted. “You didn’t do anything when I was a student and I had threatening and outright racist mail sent to my house. Learn from your mistakes and punish this girl properly.”
Others shared similar stories on social media.
“My daughter went to St Gertrude’s High School in Richmond, VA. They apparently have a history of sweeping racist stuff like this under the carpet,” another user wrote, according to the Atlanta Black Star. “This cannot be allowed!”
NBC 12 reports that James “J.J.” Minor, president of the Richmond NAACP, said he’s received more than 30 phone calls from angry parents over the incident.
“Whether they’re children or not, they did it plain and simple,” he told NBC 12, decrying the use of blackface as a mockery of African-Americans. “Someone taught them how to do it and folks know what Blackface means and it is offensive.”
Other former students say they had a very different experience at the school. Taylor Moore called the matter “disheartening” and said the students involved should face expulsion, the Atlanta Black Star reports.
“It just shocks me [because] that was never my experience there,” Moore said, the Atlanta Black Star reports. “I think there is a valuable lesson that serious actions have serious consequences. I’m praying for the school and the administrator [to] make the right decisions.”
Dwyer said the school is working to resolve the matter, "To have something this disrespectful happen is shocking. I know I was shocked when I saw it. We are trying to get to the bottom of how it happened and how it evolved."
(Photo: Getty Images)