Virginia school system probes post mocking George Floyd to celebrate win by football team and other “equally as deplorable” images

A Virginia school system is investigating a social media post in which supporters of a high school football team used a photo of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck to celebrate a victory.

Roanoke County Schools said in a statement Monday that it’s looking into the photo, which shows Chauvin’s face covered by the logo of the Cave Spring High School football team, while the team logo of Hidden Valley High School covers Floyd’s face. Cave Spring defeated Hidden Valley on Friday.

The Roanoke Times reports that the probe began after community members reported the post.

Spokesperson Chuck Lionberger told the newspaper the school system then learned of several offensive images. He wouldn’t describe them but said they were “equally as deplorable.”

“The abhorrent, disturbing images posted by individuals do not reflect the values of Cave Spring High School or Roanoke County Public Schools,” Roanoke County Public Schools Superintendent Ken Nicely said in a statement.

Lionberger said appropriate actions will be taken once the investigation is completed. He added that privacy laws prevent a discussion of student disciplinary matters.

But the Times quotes him as saying Saturday that, “Roanoke County Public Schools does not condone any behavior that could be considered racially offensive.”

The Times points out that Roanoke County Public Schools is a majority-white school division. About 80% of Cave Spring students  and 76% of Hidden Valley’s are white, the newspaper says, citing data from the Virginia Department of Education. Both schools have student bodies that are almost 6% black, the Times says.

Cave Spring’s 17-14 win over its neighbor was its first against them in a decade, the Times notes.

Chauvin, 45, is charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death May 25. The white officer is accused of pressing his knee into the 46-year-old man’s neck for 9 minutes, 29 seconds, outside a corner market where Floyd had been arrested on suspicion of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill for a pack of cigarettes.

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