Norfolk students protest assistant principal’s retweet

Liz Palka on 'racist' tweet controversy

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A group of Norfolk students said they walked out of Booker T. Washington High School on Monday, in protest of something their assistant principal did on Twitter.

“Those comments should really be kept to herself,” said Michael LeMelle, a junior at Booker T. Washington.

Students said Assistant Principal Amy Strickland retweeted a picture and caption in June that many of them find offensive.

The tweet was originally posted by the parody account “OrNahhTweets.” It shows a picture of seven couples in prom clothing, all the young men are black and all the young women are white. The caption reads: “Every white girl’s father’s worst nightmare.” It’s not clear where the picture originated.

“I could have been any one of the boys in the picture,” LeMelle said. “And I really don’t see myself, like I said earlier, as anyone’s worst nightmare.”

LeMelle is part of a group of students not keeping quiet about the tweet. He said he found out about it more than a week ago when his friend showed him a screenshot of the tweet.

“Many of the students have the screenshot now,” said LeMelle.

Students told WAVY.com they are taking the tweet seriously and want to know how Principal Adrian Day is handling the situation. They also said they want to hear from Strickland herself.

According to students, the assistant principal is new to Booker T. Washington this year. Her bio on the school website says she came from I.C. Norcom High School in Portsmouth, and while there was awarded 2014 City-Wide Teacher of the Year.

“She has to notice that she’s in a position of power,” LeMelle said. “So, to make the statement publicly, is unnecessary, to say the least.”

WAVY.com also spoke to LeMelle’s father, Michael LeMelle Sr. He believes problems start with “racial jokes” or “secret tweets.”

“I quite frankly hold the council, school board and administration responsible,” he said.

WAVY.com’s three phone calls to Norfolk Public Schools’ spokeswoman Elizabeth Mather were not returned. WAVY.com also reached out to Principal Adrian Day by email..

WAVY News’ Liz Palka spoke to Norfolk school board members Dr. Edward Haywood and Dr. Brad Robinson on the phone. Both said they were unfamiliar with the tweet and the claim before Palka brought it to their attention.

Robinson also said the issue is a personnel matter, but the suggestion in the tweet is something the school board takes seriously. He said, the school district is looking into the matter.

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