A Florida mother is on edge after what she calls a racist, threatening photo was circulated among students at a Taylor County, Florida, school early this week.
Keira Upshaw‘s son is depicted in the photo, which was airdropped to Taylor County High School students on Monday, district officials said. The image was originally posted to Snapchat and shows what appears to be someone aiming a gun at the Black teen as he sits at his desk.
The post was also captioned with a racist slur, reading: “Got that n—-r.”
“I immediately, like my heart sank,” Upshaw told local station WCTV. “I’m like okay, is he okay, is the school on lock down, have any precautionary measures been taken?”
The school remained open Monday after an investigation by the district determined there was no immediate threat to students or the school. A time stamp on the photo, which officials believe was photoshopped, showed the picture had been taken several weeks prior.
Still, the threat was enough for some parents to pull their kids out of school for the day. Upshaw said the incident has also raised doubts about her son’s safety at school.
“I’m very scared for my son to go back to school,” she said, “because I don’t know whether the boy is going to come to school tomorrow with a gun and something happens, you never know.”
District officials said they’re working with local law enforcement to determine the source of the photo.
On Monday, students reported a similar photo going around showing someone pointing a gun at white students, the district said. Officials have since identified the person responsible and are handling it accordingly.
“All of the staff here, I feel like, have a really good relationship with these students and take care of them like they’re our own,” said Heather McCoy, principal at Taylor County High. “If we don’t follow it to the highest degree possible, I don’t feel like we would be [doing] the school a service.”
Like Upshaw, many in the Taylor County community are upset and calling on the district to find and punish those responsible for the racist photo.
“Hopefully y’all are going to expel the students who involved,” one parent wrote on the district’s Facebook page. “They don’t deserve to disrupt other children’s right to learn without fear or prejudice and just get away with a slap on the wrist.”
“You must think that we’re some dumbass to believe that it was photoshopped,” another chimed in. “… It’s about time you as a school system along with Taylor county do something about this racial issue that you let Continue day in and day out. And you can start with this crap that you ‘say’ is photoshopped.”
The incident remains under investigation.