A Black doll found hanging in a locker room in a Pennsylvania high school was the result of a “foolish prank” and not a hate crime, the county’s superintendent said.
The photo of the doll, found in Coatesville Area High School, was distributed widely on social media. But upon further investigation, the administration concluded that it was a prank gone wrong after talking to both Black and White athletes.
“After our administrators interviewed team members, both White and Black, it appears that the students said this was a foolish prank and the intent was not to cause racial intimidation,“ wrote Superintendent Cathy Taschner in a letter to families.
According to Taschner, members of the Coatesville cross country team found the doll in a trash can during a meet in early September. After some runners took a liking to it, their coach trashed it again. The team members then stuffed it into an open ceiling tile in the locker room.
“It was there for several weeks until a team member decided to use his tie to hang it down from the ceiling, where it was recently discovered, smeared with toothpaste,” Taschner wrote.“Regardless, this is foolish and offensive, and not the kind of behavior we expect or accept from our students.”
Tascher said the students involved would still have to meet with school administrators to discuss the incident.
“We very much regret any upset and concern this incident has caused our students, staff, parents, or community members,” she wrote. “We will use this incident as a reminder that our actions really do matter, and that we expect our Coatesville Area School District students to act with integrity at all times.”
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