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Outrage over social media challenge mocking death of George Floyd

Liberty High School
Posted at 4:38 PM, Jun 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-04 19:26:56-04

LIBERTY, Mo. — People are outraged after seeing photos and videos circulating on social media mocking the death of George Floyd.

“Seeing these on social media is just super disrespectful, for one, and two, a lot of people just kind of missed the point of why people are protesting to begin with," said Kevin Rotert, a Liberty High School graduate.

In these posts, people are seen smiling and kneeling on the necks of their friends. The caption on the posts calls it the "George Floyd Challenge."

“It’s just really sickening and it was really triggering," said Rachel Rotert, Kevin's wife. "I mean, it was triggering already as parents of a black child to just be reminded over and over again this week that in 10 years or so, he might not be safe."

Posts like these have been seen across the country and now in the Kansas City metro area.

A spokesperson for Liberty Public Schools said a high school student was involved in creating an inappropriate and insensitive social media post.

In a letter sent to families, Liberty High School Principal April Adams said the issue is being handled by district administration.

“I definitely think that they swept it under the rug in their response, and the fact that they didn’t address what exactly the posts were and obviously you don’t want to re-trigger trauma within people, but at the same time, they should be more direct in their response as far as what happened and what’s being done about it," Kevin Rotert said.

In a statement, Superintendent Dr. M. Jeremy Tucker said an investigation will be conducted to determine if school policy was violated and that appropriate disciplinary actions would be taken.

Parents and graduates of Liberty High School told 41 Action News they felt the district was not being transparent.

“Without giving specific action steps that they’re going to be taking and just offering a vague explanation of what’s been done and what occurred, and very minimal of that, that doesn’t address the cultural issue within the school district," Kevin Rotert said.

Kevin and Rachel Rotert, both graduates of Liberty High, told 41 Action News that if they still lived in the school district, they would move out of it.

“If their parents had been talking to them, if the school had been talking to them about why this sort of thing would never be acceptable, I feel like it wouldn’t have happened," Rachel Rotert said.

In the superintendent's letter, he provided links to resources to help families talk about injustices and racism in society today.

Tucker also wrote: "The Board of Education authorized us to move forward in reorganizing our Academic Services Department. Among the changes is the creation of a Chief Equity Officer position to serve within our LPS Cabinet. We are excited that Dr. Andrea Dixon-Seahorn will be leading this work. She is both compassionate in her approach and extremely capable in leading the work of our schools and departments in furthering our equity-centered pursuit."

One family, who did not want to be identified, told 41 Action News they have four children in the district and believe the hiring is a step in the right direction.