Sarasota high school investigating student's racist 'promposal'

Riverview High School in Sarasota County opened an investigation after a racist "promposal" went viral.
Riverview High School in Sarasota County opened an investigation after a racist "promposal" went viral. Twitter

A Sarasota school is investigating and social media is fuming after a prom invitation with a racist message went viral, according to reports.

According to WTSP Channel 10 in Tampa, the "promposal" showed a boy 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 was distributed on Snapchat but has sparked outrage on other social media platforms as well.

The Sarasota County School District confirmed to ABC Action News that a Riverview High School senior posted the photo. The spokesperson said they worry it will be a "disruptor to the school and student safety."

Kathy Wilks, acting principal of Riverview High School, sent a message to parents and students Monday morning, saying school administration became aware of the post Sunday night. The message continued in part:

"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.

"The student’s post is under investigation by administration; the parents of the students involved have been contacted and appropriate action will be taken based on the investigation. We are focused on ensuring that Riverview High School provides a safe and secure environment for all of our students and that all students feel welcome and understand the value that they all bring to our school community. Our guidance counselors and administrators are available for any student who wish to speak to someone regarding the issue."

In a statement Monday afternoon, officials said "the school district is working with local and national civic leaders, including the NAACP, to develop a roundtable forum to discuss the issue of race – not just at Riverview, but district-wide. 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 outside groups to have a meaningful and informative dialogue and expanded curriculum related to this important national topic."

The student has apologized, according to school officials, who added any disciplinary action and recommendation will be made accordingly.

The post has also sparked reaction across social media. At least one tweet with the picture has been retweeted hundreds of times and a Facebook post with the photo has been shared more than 6,000 times as of Monday morning.