CALN TWP., Pa. - Hundreds of Coatesville Area High School students and staff members gathered outside the building Friday morning for a protest, sending the message that hate is not tolerated at their school.
"Today cleared a lot of people's minds and got rid of the anger," said Joziah Reynolds, a senior at Coatesville Area High School.
The protest was a response to a photo that recently surfaced on social media. It shows former and current students posing with pumpkins carved with racist symbols including a swastika and the letters KKK.
"I was offended by it," said Reynolds.
"I was kind of hurt if I'm being honest because I knew some of them from like elementary school but I'm not going to let four kids ruin what I've got going," said Weston Kinney, a senior at the school.
The Coatesville Area School District is investigating, although representatives say the photo appears to have been taken after hours and off school grounds.
The superintendent says the district will "exercise its full authority" to send a message that the picture and carvings are not acceptable.
That same message was echoed on campus during the unity rally.
"I give them the most respect for standing out there, standing up for what's right and standing up for what they believe in," said Kinney.
The pumpkin picture comes on the heels of another racially-insensitive incident where a black baby doll was found earlier this month hanging in a school locker room with a tie around its neck.
While the superintendent calls the doll a "foolish prank," some students say enough is enough.
"I understand some kids think that's a joke but it wasn't cool," said Reynolds.
The protest was planned by both students and staff members.
Allentown, PA 18102