‘This post is abhorrent:’ officials investigating meme comparing HS football player to slave

Milton School District says post 'has no place in our community'
Picture of a football

EDITOR’S NOTE: After internal discussion and speaking with Milton School District administrators, News 3 Now has decided to remove the social media picture associated with this story.

MILTON, Wis. — Officials in Rock County are investigating as a meme comparing a high school football game to an image of slavery circulates on social media.

The image purportedly came from a Sept. 17 football game between Parker High School in Janesville and Milton High School, which Milton won 17-0. It shows a Milton player, who appears to be white, standing over a Black Parker player with the text “Slave begs for mercy after Master beats Viciously (1860 colorized).”

Below the image from the football game is a historical image of a white person whipping a Black person.

In a statement, the Milton School District condemned the post, which they said was made by a local student.

“This post is abhorrent, inconsistent with the policies of the District, and has no place in our community,” the district wrote in a message to families Wednesday morning and shared with News 3 Now, adding they have referred the case to local law enforcement.

Milton school officials said neither student in the photo was involved in the creation of the meme.

The Janesville Police Department said Wednesday afternoon it is investigating the incident since the Milton High School student who made the image did so from their home in Janesville.

“Interviews with involved parties are actively underway,” the police department said in a news release.

The full message the Milton School District sent to families Wednesday morning reads:

Dear School District of Milton Families –

It has come to our attention that a post, created by a local student, has been making the rounds on social media. The post compares local student athletes on the field of play with racist and violent historical imagery.

The School District of Milton is committed to maintaining an educational environment that is free from all forms of racism, harassment, and discrimination. This post is abhorrent, inconsistent with the policies of the District, and has no place in our community.

Upon being made aware of the post, the School District of Milton took immediate action to investigate and has referred the matter to the local police authorities.

Given that this situation involves student misconduct, under state and federal laws, we are unable to comment any further.

We ask that our community join us at this time to condemn this racist imagery.

Given the disturbing nature of this image, the District encourages any in our community who need support to please reach out to our student services team members, guidance counselors, or social workers for assistance.

In an update Wednesday afternoon, the district said it had completed its investigation, saying it will discipline the student responsible for creating the image. You can read the district’s full statement below:

The School District of Milton has completed their investigation regarding a racist image made of local student athletes on the field of play with racist and violent historical imagery.

Through the investigation it was determined that the offensive image was created by a Milton High School student. It was also determined that the two students featured in the image are minor children. Neither of the students featured participated in the creation or distribution of this meme in any way.

We want to express our support to the two students portrayed in the image and to their families. Their photo was used without their consent in the creation of this racist image. These students have been victimized and deserve compassion and understanding.

As it relates to the student that created the racist image, this individual is also a minor. Milton High School will continue to follow disciplinary procedures as outlined in the student hand book and student code of conduct. However, given that this situation involves student misconduct we cannot comment further.

The School District of Milton reaffirms our commitment to maintaining an educational environment that is free from all forms of racism, harassment, and discrimination. This post is abhorrent, inconsistent with the policies of the District, and has no place in our community.

We will continue to work with the families of the students involved, the School District of Janesville, and local police departments on this matter.