Rachael Ayers, the principal at a Colorado high school, stepped down amid racism scandal marring the school’s reputation. Ayers was the principal of Mead High School in Longmont when three students re-enacted the George Floyd murder last month.
The principal stepped down Monday after images of the incident went viral, many condemning the school and its administration for allowing such a horrendous act on its campus. The incident saw three students, one in blackface, reenacting the events last year which sparked protests, riots, and renewed political activism.
The St. Vrain Valley School District Superintendent Don Haddad released a statement, acknowledging Rachael Ayers’ resignation. The former school principal had served Mead High for 12 years, though Haddad previously pointed out that the re-enactment was “disturbing and disgusting,” and it likely pushed Ayers to resign.
In the letter, Haddad explained that the school had faced “significant challenges” lately, but did not cite the incident last month as the reason for Ayers’ departure. Instead, his letter to parents Monday claimed Rachael Ayers resigned due to personal matters.
The shocking incident drummed up a lot of buzz after images revealed the cruel and sadistic joke for the world to see. Three students, who have not been publicly identified, were seen acting out the events of the George Floyd killing on the grounds of Mead High School. One student was dressed in blackface, while two others (one acting as Derek Chauvin) arrested him.
The scene showed one student kneeling on the neck of the other, in the same fashion as last year’s murder. The image was first unveiled in a Change.org petition, in which Ana Carrillo is asking for signatures in an attempt to bring “the racial profiling discrimination that occurs at MHS to notice.” The petition has garnered over 9,000 signatures thus far, and it is asking for 10,000.
In the petition, Carrillo wrote that “it’s unbelievable that there are still people acting so immature towards racism. Everyone in our school represents Mead as who we are. Having such students re-create a humiliating death is disgusting, they have dishonored themselves and the name in our school.” Carillo then pleads, saying “THESE KIDS NEED TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS.”
The three students were suspended for five days, though many argue that is not enough punishment for what they deem a cruel and racist act. Other students at Mead High supported Ana Carrillo’s message. Students staged a walkout at the high school, including Sarah Steere, the student who sent the original photo to then-principal Rachael Ayers.
It isn’t only current students who are embarrassed by the Mead High incident. One alumnus shared the change.org petition on Twitter, saying that “this petition is mostly so the principal does something instead of ignoring the situation. I’m truly embarrassed to have graduated from here and these students don’t represent what Mead stands for.”
It is unclear what further punishments the three students will face for the incident, if any at all.