A school district in upstate New York has issued an apology after a post showing three students posing with a snowman was deemed offensive. The photo, which has circulated on social media, omits the underaged pupils’ faces, but showed their ice-cold pal in what some considered “snowman Blackface.”
Randy Squier, superintendent for the Coxsackie-Athens Central School District, released a statement on Tuesday (Jan. 31) regarding the troublesome picture. “Today, a post was uploaded to our Facebook page that has since been deleted,” Squier began. His message continued, “The post was a picture of three kids standing next to the snowman they had created during recess. The post stated, ‘This snowman is just as diverse as our students.’ The word ‘diverse’ was used to describe how every kid can make a snowman differently and this variety of creativity should be celebrated. When it was commented that this post could be interpreted about race, the post was taken down.”
Next, the superintendent expressed it was never his intention for anyone to feel any grief over the snowman that was covered in dirt by the district’s students and used to signify diversity: “We want to apologize and reiterate it was never intended to be hurtful. We are sincerely sorry. We know screenshots of the post are circulating on social media and ask that the privacy of the families be respected. The district knows its responsibility for this, and that is one reason we will use this as an opportunity to review our social media policies and procedures and continue our commitment to providing a learning environment where every person feels that they belong.”
According to local news station Fox 5, the since-deleted post “brought a flood of comments,” where “Green County residents [called] the image or caption racist.” One viewer named Robert Dunckle wrote, “Umm It’s The Caption For Me Smh!!” Squier insisted the photograph was never meant to cause any harm.