Coatesville students protest amid racially-charged incidents

COATESVILLE, Pa. (WPVI) -- Students at Coatesville Area High School staged a protest on Friday morning following racially-charged incidents involving the school.

Chopper 6 was overhead as the students sat side-by-side in a semi-circle outside the school.

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Watch video from Chopper 6 HD over Coatesville High School as students stage a demonstration against racism.

The protest was primarily in response to a picture showing four students from Coatesville High School posing behind carved pumpkins, one of which reveals a swastika while another reads "KKK."

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Pumpkins with racist symbols spark outrage in Coatesville: Walter Perez reports on Action News at 5 p.m., October 18, 2017

That incident came after a photo showing an ethnic doll hanging from the ceiling of a locker room inside Coatesville High surfaced last week.

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Doll found hanging by noose at Coatesville Area High School. Matt O'Donnell reports during Action News at 6:30 a.m. on October 11, 2017.

They claim the administration is not cracking down on the perpetrators.

"We are taking a stand by ourselves, without administration, to show them we are not standing for it," said 10th grader Bria Lockhart.

School officials had sanctioned a protest from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. However, hundreds of students refused to return to classes after 10 a.m. and chose to stay out in the front of the main entrance, despite being told they would face disciplinary action by the principal.

"While there will be consequences, the focus is really on how can we solve the issues the students are having moving forward," said Principal Michele Snyder.

Superintendent Cathy Taschner said in an earlier interview these incidents will not define the district. She said she is disgusted by the photos, but they will certainly be used to make this a teachable moment.

"We will not tolerate it in our schools," said Taschner. "We will work to educate children and we will work to continue to educate staff. And we've been doing a lot of that."

Coatesville police and Coatesville School District police are investigating. At this point there is no indication that any charges are pending, however, the district said all individuals involved in both incidents will be subject to sensitivity training.
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