Sarasota County Schools responds to racist 'promposal' from Riverview student
In response to the racist message, Sarasota County Schools made counselors available on Riverview's campus, and will be organizing a forum to discuss racism in the district.
| 12:50 p.m. April 23, 2018
Sarasota County Schools is investigating a Riverview High student who used a racist message to ask another student to the prom.
A photo surfaced online this weekend of 18-year-old Noah Crowley holding a sign that said, “If I was black I’d be picking cotton, but I’m white so I’m picking U 4 prom?”
The photo of the “promposal,” posted online from the female student’s Snapchat account, was overlaid with two heart-eye emojis. It’s prompted dozens of responses online, with some calling for the students involved not to be allowed to go to the prom.
On Sunday, Crowley issued an apology on Snapchat.
“I want to sincerely apologize if I have offended anyone with the picture going around,” it read. “That was not my intention. Anyone who knows me or ... knows that that's not how we truly feel. It was a completely joke and it went too far. After reading the texts and Snapchat’s I truly see how I have offended people and I'm sorry.”
Crowley’s parents also released an apology to express their “most sincere apologies for the terrible words used in his ‘promposal.’”
In the apology, Crowley's parents said he will not be attending any more school activities, including prom or graduation.
A message was sent to parents and students Monday morning from Kathy Wilks, acting principal at Riverview, about the photo.
“It was racial in nature and administration became aware of it last night,” the message said. “Many who saw the post are understandably upset with its contents as well as the subsequent commentary to the post. Riverview High School absolutely does not condone or support the message conveyed in this post.”
A statement from the district, issued after noon on Monday, said there is an investigation under way, and “disciplinary action and recommendation will be made accordingly.”
Additionally, counselors were made available at Riverview High Monday for any person or group who wanted to talk about racism or the photo, and the school district is also working with local and national civic leaders, including the NAACP, to develop a roundtable forum to discuss the issue of race district-wide, the statement said.
“Although this message is one student’s opinion, we take the matter of racial relations and school safety seriously, and we look forward to working with our students and these other groups to have a meaningful and informative dialogue and expanded curriculum related to this important national topic.”
Also on Monday, “a diverse cross-section of students” met with school officials to voice their concerns about racial tensions at the school, as well as other issues.
An updated statement from Tuesday said the district invited Trevor Harvey with the Sarasota NCAAP chapter to facilitate a student-led conversation to share ideas for change.
“We believe our students can be powerful voices of reason and help us find solutions to the racial alienation that some children may feel. It is our goal that these roundtable discussions take place at other schools throughout the district to directly hear from students about these topics,” the district stated.
From there, it planned to make resources available to students to effectively address the issue of inequality in the schools.