Was it a simple misunderstanding, a failed attempt at humor taken out of context, or blatantly racist?

A school in Upstate New York found themselves left out in the cold a few weeks ago, after a picture they posted on their social media created a bit of backlash and controversy.


"I am sorry for the heartache this post has caused our students, staff, parents and community. We ask for our school community to provide us grace as we continue our work in meeting the needs of and fostering growth for all learners. " - Coxsackie-Athens School Superintendant Squier

According to the Daily Mail, the photo in question was posted by someone who works at Coxsackie-Athens Central School District on Tuesday and featured a picture (allegedly taken on the school campus) of a dirty snowman with what appeared to be three 4th graders proudly standing behind it.

The caption on the photo read, "Today's CE 4th Grade Fun! This snowman is just as diverse as our students!"

Photo- Facebook
Some deemed this photo inappropriate, suggesting that it was racially charged. The school has issued a formal apology and plans to change some of its procedures when it comes to social media.

You can see how a post like this would create some controversy.  At first glance, it appears as though the school is using the image of the dirty snowman to somehow represent racial inclusivity, but the school says otherwise.

According to the Daily Mail, school officials say the photo was taken out of context and wasn't intended to offend anyone issuing the following statement after the post was taken down.

"The word 'diverse' was used to describe how every kid can make a snowman differently and this variety of creativity should be celebrated. When it was commented that this post could be interpreted about race the post was taken down. We want to apologize and reiterate it was never intended to be hurtful."

But on Thursday, the school released a video from its superintendent Randall W Squier denouncing the post, while adding that future protocols would be in place to prevent this type of thing from happening again.

"I am sorry for the heartache this post has caused our students, staff, parents, and community," Squier said while adding that he "consulted with our school district attorney in regards to the district’s public response to online comments."


Squier told a curious community that the school will institute some policy changes as a result of the post that many took exception to by accelerating inclusivity training for all employees as well as adding a two-step approval for Facebook and other social media platform posts and limiting comments on posts.

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