A high school student in Wisconsin this week sparked social media posts and outcry after he wore a Ku Klux Klan costume while giving a class presentation earlier this week. The student, who was not identified in the media, told administrators that he wore the white hood to go along with his project about the 1920s. But that didn't stop students at Westosha Central High School and residents near Salem from speaking out.
"I just can't believe someone would actually put that on," alumnus Brett Sandberg told WGNTV.
The student had been participating in a class assignment on F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby," which is set in the '20s, the NY Daily News reported. He focused on the crime of the era, during which membership in the KKK peaked at 4 million.
The presentation caught local reporters' attention after students in the class snapped photos and tweeted about the boy's garments, the Kenosha News reported.
History lessons at Westosha Central pic.twitter.com/5t0V6wT5Wh
— WI HS Confession (@WiConfession) April 18, 2016
— Blake Mahan (@BelakayMahan) April 19, 2016
— Jessica ☺ (@JessicaBatko) April 18, 2016
Westosha Central's principal, Lisa Albrecht, posted a statement to Facebook apologizing for the incident. The statement was later deleted.
"As any of you would be, I was appalled by the photo," she wrote, before taking the post down. "The student in the photo, not meaning any harm, wanted to convey the message of crime during this time and the uprising of the KKK and how hateful this group of people were ... The student, in his eagerness to do a good job, admits he failed to understand this prop."
Westosha Central wasn't the only school to recently encounter an issue with KKK costumes. Earlier this month, a student at Niles High School in Michigan wore a hood during a class skit on racism, the South Bend Tribune reported. "The inclusion of these props and costumes was highly inappropriate and insensitive," the school system said in a statement afterward.