Centre County school investigating racially insensitive photo depicting George Floyd’s death

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PHILIPSBURG – A photo reenacting the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died after a police officer knelt on his neck in Minneapolis is circulating social media.

WTAJ spoke with the superintendent of Philipsburg Osceola School District who confirmed one of the individuals in the photo was a student and a minor.

“As a district we don’t agree with this at all…. we find the comments to be innapropriate and we are going to work with our students to make sure that they’re better educated and more sensitive to things such as this.”

Dr. Gregg Paladina, Superintendent, Philipsburg Osceola School District

The image depicted the student laying on the ground with another student kneeling on his neck. The photo was captioned “I can still breathe. I’m not dead, something is off here”

While the student took the photo outside of school, the school district is currently speaking with their attorney on whether or not they will take action on this in regards to student discipline. after finding out about the picture late Tuesday.

“It has created quite a reaction in the public… I understand that. I’m not trying to hide from it. It was inappropriate. The student obviously made a mistake. But, we won’t tolerate that kind of behavior in our district,” Dr. Gregg Paladina said.

The student is a minor and attends the Philipsburg-Osceola High School. No names have been released or any information on the student’s identity.

Legally, WTAJ cannot show the post the student made.

Superintendent Dr. Gregg Paladina also had the following to say about the incident as they’ve been handling it:

“I talked to the family… the student knows he made the mistake. He seems to be penitent for it. I’m not in a place to issue forgiveness or not. I just know the student has had threats to his own safety, in talking with the family. He interjected himself into a national thing that he knows nothing about–is my opinion on it.”

“It was wrong. The family is afraid for his safety at this point.”

“The family said that he’s sorry and he didn’t think before he put it on. The student feels that his actions were wrong. They’re saying that he didn’t mean it. But if you look at the post at face value… it was very insensitive, it was wrong, there’s no way to excuse it, nor will we.”

“It’s been widely shared around twitter at this point.”

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