Halloween allows people of all ages to dress up, oftentimes granting them an escape into their imaginations. But some costumes take things too far — and those who dress in them rightfully deserve to be called out for it.
Two schools near Baltimore are dealing with the aftermath of a Halloween weekend social media posting that includes two of their students, a third unidentified individual, and racial slurs.
The two students, from Gilman School and Roland Park Country School, were photographed wearing orange jumpsuits, similar to what prisoners wear. A third person, who doesn’t go to either school, was photographed with his back to the camera, and the name “Freddie Gray” on his back.
Freddie Gray was a black man who was arrested by police in Baltimore in 2015. While he was being transported to jail, he was injured and was refused use of his medical inhaler. His injuries were so severe that he became comatose, and he eventually died.
Many people suspect that Gray was beaten by the officers who arrested him, and after his death, there were city-wide riots.
The Halloween images from this week were combined into a single social media post, which included the caption, "n****s broke out." The students were not aware that their images were combined with the other, nor that racial slurs, including the n-word, were added to their images.
The schools released a joint statement, explaining key facts about the photographs, including that the students didn’t know what was to happen with their likenesses, and that neither the person who captioned the images, nor the person who posted them, attended either school.
“We take any situation involving our students seriously, and this is no exception,” they added.
The person wearing the “Freddie Gray” costume was an alumni student of Boys’ Latin School Of Maryland, the ABC affiliate reported. That school released its own statement, expressing disappointment in their graduate’s choices.
“Boys' Latin denounces the insensitivity and intolerance depicted by these images. In no way, shape or form will Boys' Latin support or tolerate actions or behaviors that demean or belittle another person, a group of individuals, or the suffering that one may endure.”
The Boys' Latin graduate and the person who posted the photo with the caption, "ur going to jail tonight" are reportedly current students at the College of Charleston. The school's Black Student Union put out a statement condemning the actions and calling for the students' expulsion.
President Glenn McConnell said in a statement on Monday that the school's Division of Student Affairs and Department of Public Safety are conducting an investigan into this racially-charged incident.
There are clearly circumstances in which Halloween costumes are intolerable. Costumes that depict a controversial event, one in which an entire community of people feels wronged, certainly fit that bill.
The students involved in this incident, who had no knowledge of how their costumes were going to be shared online, cannot be faulted for what happened.
The other individuals, however, who purposely wore a “Freddie Gray” costume, and who shared the images with the racial slurs, should feel ashamed of themselves and should apologize to the students and their communities for their bad judgment.
Banner/thumbnail image credit: Jim Young/Reuters