Latino students at a western North Carolina high school are upset after some of their classmates decided to build a wall made of boxes that blocked access to a common area as part of a senior prank.
According News 13, about 30 students were allowed into school Wednesday night to perform the prank with a teacher supervising them. They then shared a photo on Instagram with them standing in front of it.
“We built the wall first,” the photo was captioned.
A student sitting front and center of the photo is wearing a “Trump” T-shirt.
According to school Principal Edwin Spivey, one of the students wanted to a put a Donald Trump logo on the wall, but was told he couldn’t do that.
The wall was taken down before classes began on Thursday, however, two Latino students met with the principal on Friday to talk about their concerns over the wall, the photo and what they said were racist comments that followed, News 13 reported.
Brian Oliver with the McDowell County School system said the students involved with the prank won’t face any disciplinary action, however called it “unfortunate.”
“It's really unfortunate when anyone uses social media in an immature way,” Oliver told News 13. “Once you launch it, you have no control. Comments that are made after you post a photo can say anything they want, and you have no control over what that message becomes.”
He added: “In viewing the actual photo and what took place, there's not anything offensive in the photo. There was no offensive activity at the time. What became offensive or concerning was what took place on social media afterwards. So, it's hard for the school to have control or to take action against something that happened on social media that was outside school hours and outside any school network.”
Martha Guardian, one of the students who approached the principal and is Mexican-American, disagreed with Oliver, saying the photo itself is offensive.
“My Mom and Dad have done a lot for me. And other families do that too. But people seem to see them as bad people,” she told News 13. “(The wall) hurts a lot of people's feelings. They don't really know what people go through to get where they are right now. And some people are privileged to have so much stuff, but some people don't.”
She added: “I'm proud of where I'm from. I'm proud to be a Mexican-American because I was born here. I was taught here. I learned about American culture, but I never left my roots. Some kids are left alone here because their parents are illegal, and their kids are left here because they are legal and their parents get deported. They separate families. That is not OK. We are all immigrants. We are all from all over the world.”
Guardian and another student are reportedly meeting with Spivey on Monday to “come up with ways to be united in the school.”
“And I think we should do that,” she said. “Because we're all a community, and we all should be friends. We're all humans.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.