Noose photo displayed in New York classroom draws action from school district

A school district on Long Island, New York, says it has taken "appropriate action" against teachers at a middle school responsible for the display of "racially offensive images" featuring nooses in a classroom.

A photo, part of a larger collage on display in a classroom, showed two nooses under the term "back to school necklaces." The words "ha" and "#yes" also appear in the photo.

The Roosevelt School District said in a statement this weekend that it is aware of the "inappropriate conduct" of an "isolated group of teachers" at Roosevelt Middle School.

"The Board of Education was made aware of this incident on Thursday Feb. 7, 2019," the district said. "An investigation was immediately initiated, and appropriate action taken."

Image: A photo displayed inside a classroom shows two nooses labeled A photo displayed inside a classroom shows two nooses labeled "back to school necklaces" at Roosevelt Middle School in New York on Feb. 7, 2019. Courtesy of Arthur L. Mackey Jr.

Arthur Mackey Jr., a pastor at Mount Sinai Baptist Church Cathedral in Roosevelt, shared the photo on Facebook on Saturday. He said a teacher of color who works at Roosevelt Middle School and did not want to be named publicly shared the photo with him.

"Once that was brought to my attention and I saw the picture, we knew that we had to stand up and inform the public," Mackey told NBC News on Sunday. "All we're asking is after a thorough investigation, that whoever is involved in this racist image be fired."

Mackey said he confirmed the photo's authenticity with other teachers at the school before contacting administrators this weekend.

The district said in its statement that it has "zero tolerance for the display of racially offensive images," adding that it is unable to comment further "as this is a personnel matter."

Related: Miami firefighters fired over noose incident:

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Miami firefighters fired over noose incident
City of Miami Fire Chief Joseph Zahralban, left, with Mayor Tomas Regalado, addresses the media about the firing of six firefighters who placed a noose over a colleague's family photos and drew lewd images on pictures of his wife and kids, on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017. (Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images)
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SENSITIVE MATERIAL. THIS IMAGE MAY OFFEND OR DISTURB. City of Miami Department of Fire-Rescue photo shows family photos of one of the employees that were defaced with lewd and sexually explicit renderings and a noose draped over one of the photos in this image released in Miami, Florida, U.S., November 2, 2017. Courtesy City of Miami Department of Fire-Rescue/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. TEMPLATE OUT
Additional Miami firefighters may be fired in hanging of a noose over family photos of a black colleague.… https://t.co/3p6w3FrEYO
Fire Chief Joseph Zahralban described the incident as a "hideous, distasteful act of hate" in a statement. https://t.co/sLpmORs3zW
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Roosevelt Middle School has a student body as of the 2017-2018 school year that is 55 percent Hispanic or Latino and about 45 percent black or African-American, according to the New York State Education Department.

Mackey, a lifelong Roosevelt resident, said the Roosevelt school system was under state control from 2002 to 2013. It was the first district in New York to be taken over by the state and was taken off the state department's list of "struggling" schools in 2016.

"We've come such a long way with their grades," Mackey said. "For a teacher to do this is a humiliating situation."

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