Ohio Teen Banned from Prom After Racist Promposal Sign Goes Viral

An Ohio high school student was banned from prom after a photo of his racist prom proposal sign went viral. The photo shows the unidentified student standing next to a girl with a “promposal” poster that read, “If I was Black I'd be picking cotton, but I'm white so I'm picking U for prom!"

Clear Fork Valley Local Schools Superintendent Janice Wyckoff told the Mansfield News Journal that the student lives in the district but goes to another school and will not be allowed to attend Clear Fork High School’s prom. Wyckoff said the student was “spoken to” and that the speech displayed on the student's poster was inappropriate.

"I want to make it clear that our school district is disappointed in this situation," Wyckoff wrote in a statement to the News Journal. "Our student body should not be defined by a single act of a student, who did not think his action through. This is a teachable moment for this student in particular and for all students."

She told the publication that the photo posted to Facebook has been removed and that the student who made the poster is “remorseful.” It remains unclear if he will face disciplinary actions over the poster, the outlet reported. "The student now understands there are consequences for words," Wyckoff wrote. "I want everyone to remember this is a child and adolescent who made a bad decision and is learning a lesson the hard way."

A similar incident occurred in Florida last year. Riverview High School senior Noah Crowley posted a photo of himself on Facebook holding a poster with the words, “If I were Black I’d be picking cotton, but I’m white so I’m picking you 4 prom?” NBC News previously reported. Outrage followed and Crowley’s parents said in a statement to the news station that their son will no longer attend future “school activities or functions, including prom or graduation.”

A few days after Crowley’s sign went viral, two high school seniors in Michigan sparked backlash on social media by posting the same racist prom proposal sign, WILX News reported. The two unidentified students reportedly attended the Maple Valley high school in Vermontville Township, according to the news station. In a 2018 statement to the Detroit Free Press, former Maple Valley Schools superintendent Michelle Falcon said the school district condemns the students’ actions.

"We were made aware of an inappropriate promposal over the weekend which has gone viral on multiple social media platforms," Falcon said. "The Maple Valley School District has investigated the social media post originating from its grounds over the weekend, has identified those responsible, and has taken appropriate action. Federal educational privacy laws prohibit the school district from providing further detail."

Some high school students have taken a stand regarding racist social media posts. One thousand students from an Illinois high school participated in a walkout last week after social media posts surfaced of white students wearing blackface. Four students at Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Flossmoor, Illinois posted photos of themselves in blackface, as well as a video of them going through a fast food drive-thru wearing the dark makeup.

Superintendent Dr. Von Mansfield and Principal Dr. Jerry Lee Anderson said in a letter on April 30 that they were proud of the students who participated in the walkout.

“We are thankful to the many individuals who have reached out to us and shared their thoughts, feelings and volunteered their support and services to assist our school community as we begin building a pathway forward,” the statement read. “The diversity of our communities represents our greatest strength and will be the catalyst that brings us together.”

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.