Last Friday, four high school students from South Carolina sparked an absolute outrage out of what was intended to be a positive message for breast cancer awareness.
During a football game between Westside High School and D.W. Daniel High School, several Westside students, who were sporting pink chest paint spelling out the phrase “Bump Cancer” as part of a multiple-game series called “Touchdown Against Cancer,” began to rearrange themselves to spell other words.
At one point, four boys posed for a picture while spelling out the word “rape.” According to WSPA, that photo was then sent around via Snapchat with the caption:
What we do to Daniel.
The message alluded to their school’s football team “raping” their opponents that night, D.W. Daniel High School, and seemingly referred to winning the game.
Soon, fellow classmates who were appalled by the picture re-posted it on Facebook with one message for the boys who took part in it: This was not OK.
It wasn’t long before parents and school officials alike caught wind of the inappropriate photo.
Misty Grogan, a parent from the Anderson school district, told WSPA:
“It’s just shocking, just wow. Kids that young making fun of something that serious.”
Another furious response came from the Facebook page of Anderson 5 Citizens for Quality Education, which is “a non-partisan group of concerned parents, students, and citizens from Anderson, SC, School District 5.” It read, in part:
Needless to say, using the threat of rape, even as analogy, is not behavior that any school or any parent should (or hopefully would) condone. Rape culture in high school and college is a real threat to many students. The juxtaposition of a violent message with the breast cancer awareness symbology is of particular concern. The assumption these young men seem to have made is that their position and privilege allows them to make ‘jokes’ about rape as a viable threat.
As the photo circulated to more and more people, hundreds of local residents, former students, and others took the time to express their disgust at the boys’ actions:Anderson 5 Citizens for Quality Education/Facebook Anderson 5 Citizens for Quality Education/Facebook Anderson 5 Citizens for Quality Education/Facebook Anderson 5 Citizens for Quality Education/Facebook Anderson 5 Citizens for Quality Education/Facebook Anderson 5 Citizens for Quality Education/Facebook Anderson 5 Citizens for Quality Education/Facebook
According to WSPA, the four students are “being punished accordingly,” however the details of said punishments are reportedly being kept between the school, the students, and their parents.
Tom Wilson, Anderson District 5 Superintendent told WSPA that the boys’ intentions were not to hurt anyone by their actions:
“These are good kids that made one bad decision, some of them didn’t even know how to get to the principal’s office.”
And he clarified that none of them would be expelled.
Despite not intending any harm through their “rape” joke, the students caused enough hurt and outrage to make national news whether they meant to or not.