‘Whites only,’ ‘colored only’ drinking fountain ‘prank’ in US school sparks outrage
What started off as a prank in a high school in South Carolina, United States, took a turn for the worse after it was criticized for being racially offensive.
A certain Pauline Michelle from Charleston shared a photo on Facebook of two drinking fountains seen at West Ashley High School last Oct. 31. One of the drinking fountains was labeled “Whites Only!” while the other was labeled “Colored Only.”
“So this is what’s going on at West Ashley High,” said Michelle. “Charleston County School District I’m lost for words.”
The photo has since sparked outrage from parents and students, prompting the Charleston County School District to condemn the prank as “extremely offensive and distasteful,” according to Live 5 News on Oct. 30.
“It is important to note that the students involved are of different racial backgrounds,” officials from the district said in a statement via the report. “School administrators have taken swift action and handled discipline per district protocol.”
Racial segregation was rampant in southern states during the Jim Crow era in the late 19th century to the mid-20th century. African Americans were considered second class citizens, as per the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University in Michigan. At the time, signs were placed above water fountains, doors, and in front of public facilities, among others, to separate African Americans from white people. Blacks who violated these restrictions, such as by drinking from water fountains for the white, for example, risked their homes, jobs, as well as their lives.
West Ashley High School principal Ryan Cumback has meanwhile contacted parents via e-mail and phone call to address the incident.
“We have absolutely no tolerance for this kind of activity. Even though those involved in this prank admitted they were wrong, we followed discipline per CCSD protocol,” said Cumback in the e-mail, as per report. “I understand how upsetting the image posted on social media is. That is why we acted swiftly in addressing the matter and why I am reaching out tonight.” Cody Cepeda/JB
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