Virginia high school students’ spirit week photos spark controversy


SUFFOLK, VA (WAVY) — Suffolk school officials are investigating two pictures apparently taken during Nansemond River High School’s spirit week.

The pictures show fours girls, with one appearing to dress in an orange, prison-style jumpsuit with a sign reading “Black Lives Matter.”  The other three girls appear to be dressed up as police officers.

The pictures were sent to 10 On Your Side early Tuesday. School officials say the photos were not taken during the school day.

The school sent a letter home to parents Wednesday afternoon discussing the matter.

The letter stated, in part:

Monday, Oct. 17th was designated as Character Day, where students and staff could dress as a character of their choice. One group of girls came dressed as “cops & robber.” Upon leavingfor the day, the girls took photos with a Black Lives Matter sign as a show of their personal support for the Black Lives Matter movement. The sign was not part of their costumes. The photos were posted on their personal social media accounts. Some were offended by the photos and shared their opinions across several social media channels and with the news media. One of the photos was later altered by someone else to black-out the girls’ faces. Nansemond River High School administrators interviewed these four students this morning, and they each regret that the photos were interpreted in such a negative way. Their intent was to bring light and awareness to the Black Lives Matter movement and nothing more. They took it upon themselves to remove the photos from their personal social media accounts, and explained their intent with a few classmates who were upset.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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