Race

Black Teen Leaves School After Classmate Takes Picture In KKK Mask

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A black Tennessee teen is leaving a private Christian school in Columbia after a photo of a classmate wearing a KKK mask and doing a Nazi salute was shared on Snapchat.

Cathy Leach said Friday that her son will no longer attend Zion Christian Academy.

“When I got the picture, something had to be done,” Leach told WKRN. “It was hurtful and just unbelievable that we are still going through this. It's 2014.”

She says her son has been teased and called names like the N-word, but the school staff failed to do anything about it.

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“There were comments and jokes being made,” she said. “He reported it but nothing was being done. He has some recordings of things they say because he wants something done about it.”

The school’s headmaster Don Wahlman said school officials addressed Leach’s bullying claims immediately.

“We addressed that with the students listed and really addressed this as we are not going to tolerate this anymore and to my knowledge no more of that occurred,” he explained. “The students involved with this [picture incident] were not those students.”

Wahlman said that he met with faculty over the Nazi salute photo on Wednesday.

“We started an investigation to see the accuracy of the picture to make sure what we were seeing was accurate and we had the right facts in place,” he said. “We had a faculty meeting right after school to address this issue and just talk about the problem.”

Wahlman said he addressed the issue with students during an assembly Thursday.

“I explained our position and Christ's position that this is not to be tolerated because it's a sinful act,” he said. “We will have zero tolerance for any comments that are bullying or racially motivated.”

Wahlman said the Nazi salute photo was not directed at Leach’s son or any other student.

In a statement, Wahlman said the school will pray for Leach’s son.

"It's so sad that our school name is being destroyed by the actions of a student who made a tragic mistake. This is not Zion Christian Academy. If you walked our halls and talked with our students you'd see that this is not who we are. We are praying that God blesses this student in his new school."

Sources: WKRN, Columbia Daily Herald

Image screenshot: WJHL