ISSAQUAH, Wash. - A high school student in Issaquah is being called out by a Seahawks player for using a racist sign to ask her date to 'tolo'.
'Tolo,' sometimes known as 'Sadie Hawkins,' is a dance where young women traditionally ask young men to be their date, instead of the other way around.
The girl used a sign that said, "If I were black, I'd be picking cotton but instead, I pick you. Tolo?"
The school has not identified the student who posted the message.
Seahawk wide receiver Doug Baldwin tweeted the picture and said he was saddened that this idea was thought of and executed without intervention.
Baldwin is one of many who are calling attention to the photo, and the Issaquah School District's spokeswoman has responded.
"It was heartbreaking, it was absolutely heartbreaking. We're going to do a methodical, deliberate, intentional investigation," said ISD's spokeswoman.
The school district also posted a statement regarding the situation.
"Over the weekend it was brought to the Issaquah School Board’s attention that there was a racially-insensitive post circulating on social media that involved students at Issaquah High School. The Board wants to publicly express our disappointment and to affirm that every student in our district deserves to attend a school environment free from racism.
While we have worked tirelessly over the past two years to adopt a racial equity policy that includes fostering cultural competency in our students, we know that this will require sustained focus and commitment. This unfortunate incident will provide an opportunity to deepen our conversation on both creating an educational experience free from racism and appropriate use of social media. We know that our District leadership is equally committed to the academic and social-emotional well-being of each and every student in our District."
State statistics show Issaquah High School is nearly 60 percent white and only about three percent black.
According to KIRO7 News, the teen posted the following apology statement on her Instagram:
“I want you to know that I am genuinely sorry for the hurt feelings, chaos and rage that my tolo poster caused,” she wrote. “Unfortunately, the wrong image of myself was portrayed through the words written on the poster. Those who know my true heart know that I am not racist, and that evil way of thinking is something that makes me sick. I have no excuse for what was said, and I take full responsibility. I’m sorry to those who were affected. I feel so genuinely mortified and sorry about the situation that I am physically ill over it.
“Racism is not something to be made light of and I understand that by making that poster it made me out to look like a racist person. Racism is not what lies within my true heart. The sign was not okay and I’m sorry. It was wrong, it was hurtful, and it reflected me and who I am in a completely distorted way. I have a kind, loving, genuine soul, and I love all humans as humans. It was not my intention to upset anyone by what I wrote and if I could go back and change my actions, I would. It was a mistake that wasn’t thought through.
“I have no excuse, I’m only 17, and that’s not who I am. From the bottom of my heart, that was not me, that is not how I was raised or what my family believes in, and I understand the severity of what was written. I am sorry. I meant nothing by it. It was just some stupid poster we found on Pinterest, but it wasn’t ok for me to copy, and it wasn’t funny, and I understand. I’m sorry.”
A comment that was left on Baldwin's tweet by a senior student at IHS says the students will be hosting an anti-racism rally on April 3 in response to this situation.
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