Homewood and Flossmoor residents were shocked Sunday to find a video posted on the Facebook social media site of Homewood-Flossmoor High School students in blackface making disparaging remarks.
Although the incident did not happen on school grounds and is believed to not be connected to any high school events, H-F administrators said in an email to parents: “It is important that our students and community clearly understand that this type of behavior will not be condoned at H-F and we will continue to take the appropriate and necessary actions to ensure all of our students are respected, feel protected and safe.”
“I’m very disappointed that this would happen in this community. The history and effects of black face are well known,” one mother said of the posting.
Another post, from an H-F alumna, said: “Whether this behavior came from a place of racism or pure ignorance, it’s truly disappointing to see this in the HF community. This is simply unacceptable, and we must learn and grow from this.”
Another, in response to a woman who said she’d give second thought to moving into the community, asked her to understand this was one incident.
“I hope this doesn’t deter you from moving to HF. It is a wonderful, inclusive, diverse, and supportive community. The fact that we are calling out this behavior is a good thing. Stuff like this should not stand,” another wrote.
The four teens were in a car, their faces smeared in black. Several were wearing Viking sweatshirts. One could be heard saying he didn’t think blackface was offensive and said he wasn’t being racist, although he went on to use an offensive term for black girls’ appearance.
One student in the car told the others that they were going too far with the comments, but it doesn’t appear that the others tried to put a stop to it.
The mother of one of the boys in the posting said on Facebook that her son didn’t understand the meaning of blackface. She and other parents and the students met with H-F administrators Sunday afternoon.
H-F Superintendent Von Mansfield and Principal Jerry Lee Anderson sent the email to all H-F parents about the incident, reminding them that they could not discuss individual students and actions taken due to student confidentiality rules.
“However, we can share that the social media postings that were seen and heard were not representative of the high expectations we have for all student that attend our school.
“This type of behavior is contrary to our expectations, is being addressed quickly and appropriately and will not be tolerated,” the email said.