A California principal is suspended amid backlash over a photo showing a few teachers posing and smiling with a noose — an image she shared with the school staff.
Linda Brandt, who heads Summerwind Elementary School in the Los Angeles suburb of Palmdale, California, reportedly shared the photo in an email blast to staff, along with a separate photo of the noose hanging in an office, an unnamed teacher told FOX 11.
The email contained no text.
“We want her gone from this school and that’s just it,” angry parent Darrin Harper told the station after seeing the picture. “We want her out of here. I do personally! Because I know what she about. The pictures prove it, that’s what she about and that’s what she allow to go on. So she need to go.”
Harper argued the image proved Brandt “hates them little black babies … all them minorities.”
Palmdale School District Superintendent Raul Maldonado addressed the incident in a statement Thursday.
“This afternoon it’s been brought to the Palmdale School District’s attention that an incident involving the discovery of a noose and possibly inappropriate responses to that discovery occurred at Summerwind Elementary School,” it read. “The Principal has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation of the matter.”
According to FOX 11, Brandt is in consideration to become the district’s next superintendent.
Parents say racism has been an ongoing issue at the California school, where Black children account for17 percent of the student population.
“I’ve requested that my kid be taken out of one classroom because [one] teacher, in particular, has shown prejudice discrimination against my kid and when I requested the black teacher I got grief for that,” Breyon Clemmons told the station.
Shaka Phillipps, a former teacher and educational consultant, told Yahoo News she pulled her niece from class Thursday morning after learning the four teachers seen in the offensive photo were allowed to resume their lessons. It’s unclear whether they’ve been suspended as well.
“They had the audacity to show up today,” said Phillipps. “The integrity of the school is completely compromised. To the black community, a noose is a weapon, a symbol of slavery and lynching.”
The concerned aunt said she plans to keep her niece out of school until Summerwind enacts new policies and takes disciplinary action against the teachers involved.
Michele Lemaire, who teaches at the school, told FOX 11 that while the student body is diverse, the mostly white teaching staff is a “huge issue.”
“But apparently it’s not being addressed,” she told the station. “There seems to be a sorting of who should be working here.”