Four students at Westside High School in Anderson, SC, have been disciplined after using a “Cancer Awareness Night” football game to make a crude joke about rape against their rival school late last week.
The four students in question—who have not been publicly identified by the school district—were photographed spelling out the word “RAPE” painted across their chests in pink and white body paint. According to WHNS, the students had originally been part of a larger group whose lettering had spelled “BUMP CANCER.”
A picture of the students was then posted to Snapchat, with the caption “What we do to [rival school D.W.] Daniel.” A screengrab of that image was then shared on the Facebook page of advocacy group Anderson 5 Citizens for Quality Education, along with a message urging concerned parents and community members to contact Westside officials.
Speaking with CNN, Anderson School District Five Director of External Affairs Kyle Newton claimed that the students in the photograph were quickly identified by Westside officials and had been punished, though he didn’t say what the punishment was.
“At best, what they did was offensive. At worst it could be traumatic for those who have suffered sexual assault,” Newton said. “There is no place in any school or any community for those types of actions.”
District Superintendent Tom Wilson also condemned the teens actions to WHNS, albeit with a slightly less strident spin:
This is what can happen to a situation where students made a bad decision but once it gets on social media, it gets ramped up and it really spreads like wildfire. The four have been dealt with. And they’re very remorseful, their parents understand that their intent was not to offend.
According to Newton, the teens involved were two seniors and two sophomores.
“These are four of the best students, academically, behavioral-wise,” Wilson said. “They just made a bad decision.”