Concerns raised over 'Trump's Wall' T-shirts at Racine Lutheran High School homecoming event
RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Students, parents and Latino advocacy groups are calling for action to be taken after a photo of students at Racine Lutheran High School with T-shirts that read "Trump's Wall" on them was circulated online.
The incident occurred during a homecoming week activity on Tuesday, Sept. 28. Students were participating in an intra-school volleyball match.
A source who wished to remain anonymous shared the image with CBS 58 where students are wearing "Trump's Wall" T-shirts at the event. School administrators said when staff saw the shirts they told the students they could not wear them.
"It's not solely just the issue of the T-shirt, it's the message that it's sending," Cynthia Galvan said.
Galvan's son attends Racine Lutheran and said he and other students of color were offended by the shirts and brought the issue to the attention of the school administration. But Galvan said the students and parents felt more needed to be done to address the incident as well as more deeply-rooted issues involving race at the school.
"It was kind of like the last straw," Galvan told CBS 58. "Like we kind of have to have a conversation about this and if they're not listening to the students or even the parents, then other organizations have to come and help us."
Students and parents reached out to Forward Latino -- an advocacy and service organization -- and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) of Wisconsin -- a civil rights organization -- to help.
"We see this rhetoric, anti-immigrant rhetoric, being applied toward citizen and non-citizen alike, and we knew we had to get involved," Forward Latino President Darryl Morin said in an interview. "Because right now we're seeing this division here, people on a weekly basis act on those words to tragic consequences."
The organizations investigated the incident and engaged with the school administration. Morin said conversations have been productive. While the incident is unfortunate, Morin said, it sparked important dialogue.
"We've offered technical assistance to help alleviate these issues because as I mentioned before, this is not something that is simply isolated to this school, it's happening across the country," Morin said.
The groups said they will be meeting with parents and students periodically moving forward. That includes a partnership with the Anti-defamation League to provide anti-bias and multicultural best practices and training for the school.
Galvan hopes the action around this incident helps improve the school community.
"At least the conversations are happening now about the issues so that they can continue to address them," Galvan said.
Racine Lutheran executive director and principal David Burgess sent CBS 58 a statement that read, in part:
"As a school community, we recently addressed situations that prompted dialogue with students, parents, and representatives from Forward Latino and the League of United Latin American Citizens.
While the discussions and topics were challenging, we are confident healing and growth will result through ongoing efforts and communication. We respect and value our students, as each is a child of God."
The entire statement can be read below: