Students punished for hanging ‘blacks only’ and ‘whites only’ signs on high school water fountains

Students at Colerain High School in Cincinnati were disciplined for apparently taping ‘blacks only’ and ‘whites only’ signs on water fountains (Picture: Google Maps)

High school students who taped ‘blacks only’ and ‘whites only’ signs over water fountains were disciplined for their actions harkening back to segregation.

Pictures of the signs quickly spread across social media and among students at Colerain High School, located outside Cincinnati, Ohio, earlier this month. After a group of students hung up the signs, they took photos to post online, and took them off the walls.

Administrators at the school say the racist signs were posted for only about 30 seconds before they were removed by the students who placed them there.

The students responsible for the ‘tasteless and hurtful act,’ reminiscent of Jim Crow laws, which legalized segregation in the US, have been issued significant disciplinary actions, the school district said.

By the end of the school day on May 5, administrators were made aware of the racist message posted above the water fountains and swiftly launched an investigation into the incident.

‘We want to make sure our staff, students, families and community understands where we stand on racial intolerance, discrimination, racism and hatred. We take this matter very seriously,’ the Northwest Local school district said in a May 16 statement.

‘This type of behavior is not and will not be condoned or tolerated. The actions that were displayed do NOT reflect the values and the culture we’ve worked so hard to cultivate in all of our schools across the district,’ the statement read.

About 30% of Colerain High School’s 1,730 students are black and 49% is white, according to  

The signs, which read ‘whites only’ and ‘blacks only’ each had a drawing of a frowning face.

‘The students involved in the incident posted the signs, took photos and removed the notes before posting the photos online,’ school officials said.

In an interview with , one parent said the incident pushed us back generations.

‘My heart dropped. My heart dropped. I could not believe it. It was so offensive,’ the parent, who wished to be anonymous, said.

Another parent called it a ‘hate crime,’ before adding that the incident is ‘racism swept under the rug.’

Both of the commentators were mothers of students in the district who told the station they felt the need to address racism head-on, but did not want their children to face retaliation if they spoke out.

The school district said they ‘remain committed to teaching love, inclusivity and compassion.’


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