Norwin superintendent reaches out to parents following Confederate clothing incident

·2 min read

Oct. 14—Norwin's top administrator reached out to parents in the school district via email Wednesday, days after two students wore racially insensitive clothing to class.

"These images are offensive to many within the Norwin community," Superintendent Jeff Taylor wrote in the emailed statement. "This situation ... (is a) learning opportunity to reinforce our district's commitment to a safe, healthy, and positive learning environment."

Students were encouraged by the district to wear red, white and blue clothing Monday as part of 'Merica Day during homecoming week.

But photos of two high school boys — one wearing a shirt in a red, white and blue Confederate flag pattern and the other wearing shorts in a similar pattern — circulated on social media Monday and received significant media attention.

Taylor said the two students were sitting in a study hall until 10:30 a.m. and their Confederate-patterned clothing was obscured. They were not seen by teachers or administrators, he said.

Their attire did not come to light until a change of classes at 11 a.m. The administration was notified a few minutes later and the students removed the clothing, Taylor said.

Parent Robert Dye said he was "personally disgusted" by the incident and upset that students were permitted to wear the clothes in the first place.

One of the images of the students that was shared on social media contained text that said "Triggered teacher Count #1."

The administration investigated the incident and both the student and the teacher verified that the photo was not meant to represent a threat of any kind, Taylor said.

"The student stated that he used the word 'triggered' to mean that he made the teacher mad," Taylor told the Tribune-­Review.

At the same time, screen shots of a chat among some eighth grade students containing racially offensive statements came to light.

The comments were written before the start of school and the district was not involved in any investigation, Taylor said. The posts included comments about hanging Blacks and a photo of a Ku Klux Klan member dressed in white robes.

The mother of an eighth grade student said she contacted the school district and North Huntingdon police. She said she contacted the state Attorney General's Safe2Say Something program.

A spokesperson for the Attorney General's Office said Tuesday the office "is not permitted to share the nature of any tips received nor divulge who submitted the information."

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, or via Twitter .

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