A school in South Florida has suspended two white high school students after the pair posted a picture of a "promposal" sign that was received controversially on social media.
In the picture, three girls -- two white and one black -- are holding up a sign that reads "You may be picking cotton but we're picking you to go to prom with us."
WPLG reports that Yahoo! News covered the story with the headline: "Here's how not to ask your black friend to prom."
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The father of one of the girls clarified to the news station that the sign was an inside joke made in conjunction with their friend, the black female student, who was not going to prom and is not a student at the school.
The female black student is home-schooled and the inheritor to her grandmother's cotton farm in Alabama. According to the trio, the sign was made in reference to the black student's family business.
One of the fathers of the suspended students understood the controversy over the sign and how it may be taken to be a racist slur, but stated the girls meant no harm.
Because of the controversy and the suspension, the father stated the girls are afraid to attend their own prom.
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"They really want to apologize for their extremely poor choice of words in this situation," said the father of one of the students, who has not been identified for privacy reasons, The Root reports.
"They would like to take it back. They would like to find a different way to express this invitation to prom."
The two white girls attend Monarch High School and have been suspended while the institution investigates the matter.
"Broward County Public Schools is proud of its diverse student population and community," said district spokeswoman Tracy Clark.
"Our district is committed to providing learning environments that foster inclusion and respect."
The father of one of the girls hopes the public gets to hear the "true" story behind what they believe is a misunderstanding.
"There have been consequences," he said. "We understand the reality of that, but the girls really want people to know what the truth is behind this."
All the girls have been made to apologize through their parents even though the school community is supporting them.
According to WPLG, students at the school believe the suspension is too strict and that the girls meant well with their "promposal" sign. It is unclear if this will carry any weight with the district's ultimate decision.