FOLSOM (CBS13) — A social media post circulating in Folsom is prompting high school students to speak out. Many are calling the photo racist and want the person pictured in it, a Folsom High School student, to be held accountable.
The photo, which shows a young man in sunglasses and a cowboy hat holding what appears to be a ceramic head of an African American person, was originally sent in a private message, but was leaked and shared more than 1,000 times online.
The caption on the photo reads “Just a man and what’s left of his property.” It’s unclear who wrote that caption or what they meant by it.
“I don’t know what was going through that person’s head when they did that,” said Folsom High School Student Tariq Ali.
Just days after the photo was leaked online, some students call it racist.
“Basically, it has the same racial undertones as slavery,” said Folsom High School student Arita Berra.
CBS13 is not naming the student behind the picture because he is underage and not believed to be in trouble at this point for his post. The person who sent CBS13 the photo says it was shared with her from a family member who goes to Folsom High School and was leaked from a private message group. Multiple Folsom High students say they recognize the person depicted as one of their classmates.
“It shines a bad light on us even though 99.9 percent of us probably aren’t like that,” said Berra.
The Folsom Cordova Unified School District won’t confirm this person is a student, or say if the student will face repercussions for the post. But, the same day this photo started circulating, the district posted a message on Twitter, in part, saying the district won’t tolerate racist words or actions.
Racism is unacceptable and must be addressed and opposed. The Folsom Cordova Unified School District will not tolerate racist words or actions that disrupt student learning or create an unsafe learning environment for students or staff.
— Folsom Cordova USD (@FolsomCordova) August 5, 2020
Students say especially in this time of heightened racial tension, this gives their whole community a bad look.
“It’s just not right, especially with everything that’s been going on lately, it makes it even that much worse,” said Ali.
“Anytime would be a really bad time to post the student can claim it was a joke but especially at a time like this, that shouldn’t be posted,” said Berra.
Friends of the student did reach out to CBS13. They tell us this student has received multiple threats online, so much so that his social media accounts have been taken down, including what we’re told was a public apology for taking the photo in the first place. His friends say the photo was never meant to be public.