CASPER — Two Riverton High School students were disciplined Wednesday after coming to school in white hoods and white robes, a school district official said.
Terry Snyder, the superintendent of the Riverton-based Fremont County School District No. 25, said the district would “not tolerate anything that even begins to look like what it looked like.” In an image circulated on social media, a student can be seen walking through doors with a white hood covering his head and eyes. He’s carrying a small American flag, as another student — also dressed in white — walks in behind him.
In a statement posted to Facebook, Riverton High School wrote that it had “taken disciplinary measures” and that “one student’s decision does not represent our school or district.”
The student in front, who’s smiling and carrying the flag, also had a large cross around his neck. Some in the comments of the Riverton High statement defended the student, saying he was dressed as a monk.
Snyder rejected that suggestion and said the district had determined the attire was offensive and was intended to be offensive. He declined to elaborate on the district’s investigation or to describe what discipline the two students involved were facing.
“We have interpreted the attire to be offensive and to be inappropriate,” Snyder said. “We understand there can be different interpretations, but through our investigation, we believe that it was offensive and inappropriate, and we have taken disciplinary action with the students involved.”
He said that Wednesday was a spirit day and that the two students’ outfits were immediately recognized and addressed by Riverton High staff.
The image that was circulated included several overlapping text messages; one included a racial slur while another called the school a “f—-ing disappointment.”
Asked if the district was planning to address the issue in a broader way going forward, Snyder said the high school was dealing with Wednesday’s events and the discipline involved first.
“I haven’t had time to make any additional plans at this point,” he said.