City

Coatesville High Schoolers Pose With Swastika-, KKK-Carved Pumpkins

Police and the Coatesville Area School District are investigating the disturbing image, which is making the rounds online.
pumpkins, coatesville

The image, as blurred by 6ABC Action News. The swastika symbol appeared on the first pumpkin on the left.

It’s a deeply unsettling photo.

An image of several Chester County teenagers posing with swastika- and KKK-carved pumpkins is making the rounds on the internet. According to the Coatesville Area School District, the teens pictured are current and former Coatesville Area High School students. 

The photo, taken via Snapchat, clearly shows four teens posing with four pumpkins, two of which have regular jack-o-lantern faces carved into them (which somehow makes the situation look even more disturbing).

Police are investigating. The school district said the photo appears to have been taken outside of school hours and off school property. District officials condemned the situation, which they called a display of “hatred and vile behavior.”

This week, the district plans to partner with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, the Mid-Atlantic Equity Center, and the NAACP to speak to students about racism.

Coatesville High also made headlines last week when a photo circulated of a black doll hanging from the ceiling of a locker room. The district superintendent told NBC10 that the doll was placed as a “prank,” with no intent of racial intimidation.

Here’s the district’s full statement on the pumpkin photo, via 6ABC:

“We are extremely disappointed that any of our students would display this kind of hatred and vile behavior. It’s reprehensible and intolerable, and this photo causes deep sadness and concern. We work extremely hard to promote a tolerant, respectful, inclusive learning environment, and this is in direct opposition to everything we stand for and believe in. The photo appears to be taken outside of school hours and not on school property. While the law is specific as to the authority it confers upon schools for school-imposed discipline, the District will exercise its full authority it may have within those limits. Upon learning of the incident, our administrators immediately turned the photo over to police, and administrators are contacting parents of the students pictured. We’ll be investigating the incident and continuing to work with our local equity agencies, including the PA Human Relations Commission, Mid Atlantic Equity Center, and NAACP this week as we are offering facilitated conversations for students about racism. The Coatesville Area School District is a caring school community that will not be defined by acts of hatred. We are encouraged by the outpouring of communication from students who reported this, and the many outstanding students who, on a daily basis, continue to do the right thing and who continue to stand in unity. We simply cannot accept this, and will do all we can to ensure that our community realizes that there is simply no place for hate in our school district.”

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.