The five Iowa high school students who appeared in a photo wearing Ku Klux Klan hoods and waving a Confederate flag have been kicked off of the school football team.
Creston Community High School football coach Brian Morrison told The Des Moines Register on Thursday that the five Creston High School students are off the squad, which was set to play Friday night.
Morrison also said lawyers are involved, but he couldn’t provide details about whom the lawyers are representing.
“Litigation is what it is,” Morrison told the newspaper. “At this point tonight, they’re not with us.”
The coach said he had spoken with the parents and informed them the teens were no longer on the team. Some Creston residents told the World-Herald newspaper that the students received a nine-day suspension from school.
Principal Bill Messerole said earlier in the week that the students involved have been disciplined, but would not be more specific. He cited student confidentiality.
“There has certainly been something missing in how we present things to kids,” Messerole told the World-Herald. “We are going to have to do something different. … This is not our culture. This is not what we teach. This is not our community values.”
The photo, which was shared widely on social media, also featured a student holding a rifle and a burning cross.
The students in the photo have not been identified. A recent graduate of Creston told the World-Herald that a friend sent him the photo, and the pal got it from the student who took the photo.
Law enforcement officials said the boys’ actions fall under protected speech and that there is nothing to look into.
Creston is a city of more than 7,800 people about 70 miles south of Des Moines.
“It’s just something I never thought would have come to Creston,” sophomore Austin Bloyd, who plays on the basketball team, told the World-Herald. “It’s just sad that potential friends of mine would even consider doing anything like that. … I’ve got to know who my friends are and who to surround myself with.”
Kylan Smallwood, the school’s quarterback and a star on the basketball team, was stunned by the photo.
“I would see that kind of stuff like Charlottesville and think that’s pretty messed up,” Smallwood told the Register. “I never thought that would happen to our small town.”
Smallwood, who is black, said he was happy that the coach kicked the five players off the team.
“I thought these guys are my friends,” Smallwood told the Register. “I’ve been to some of their houses before. I’ve talked to them.”
This is way beyond getting kicked off the football team and a nine-day suspension. This is definitely expulsion-worthy, don’t you think?