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High school coaches under investigation after blackface costume photo emerges

Two San Diego high school football coaches are under investigation by district officials after a photo of them donning blackface for Halloween costumes surfaced on Facebook.

Brian Basteyns and Harold Seeley, the head and assistant coaches of the Junipero Serra High School football team, were shown in the picture with their faces painted black to look like members of the Jamaican bobsled team made famous in the movie “Cool Runnings,” Fox 5 San Diego reports.

The picture was removed from Facebook after a parent flagged it.

“We hold our staff to high standards in the community, and the investigation would look more closely into what happened and what the circumstances were,” John Evans, a San Diego Unified School Board of Education member, said Tuesday.

The coaches were on school grounds for classes and practice Tuesday, and team members hope they aren’t fired.

“I understand they are held to high expectations, but I think they were just fooling around,” Josh Garcia, a freshman, told Fox 5 San Diego. “They weren’t making any racial comments. They were just dressing up.”

Blackface emerged in the mid-19th century to represent a combination of put-down, fear and fascination with black culture, Eric Lott, a visiting American studies professor at City University of New York's graduate center, told The Associated Press.

Actress Julianne Hough apologized on Twitter over the weekend for a photo of her dressed up in a blackface costume portraying the character Crazy Eyes from the TV show “Orange is the New Black.”

A Florida man also has been criticized for a blackface costume of Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in 2012, The Associated Press reports.

Click for more from Fox 5 San Diego.

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