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Viral Prom Proposal To African-American Student Gets Teens Suspended

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- A prom proposal, shared on social media, got some high school students suspended.

The proposal included what some considered to be a racist remark. After being shared on social media it went viral.  Some people laughed about it but most were upset by what it said. The prom proposal was the talk of Monarch High.

Students who spoke with CBS4's David Sutta were upset by it - even if it was "just a joke." Parents of the kids involved said this is all a misunderstanding. In the post, two white students made a prom proposal to an African-American student saying "You may be picking cotton, but we're picking you to go to the prom with us." All three are smiling in the shot while looking at the camera.

Senior Andre Hodge found it inappropriate.

"It was supposed to be a joke but a lot of people took offense to it. I took offense to it," said Hodge.

Senior Corey Bailey couldn't believe the young women were smiling in the shot.

"I was like wow. How could you allow yourself to be happy about 'oh we're picking cotton and we're picking you.' Come on," said Bailey.

Fellow student Daijah Palmer agreed, "I feel like that in this year, 2017, we should definitely be past this."

Even though students understood it was meant to be a joke, they weren't laughing.

"It's really immature and it shouldn't occur again and people shouldn't do such an obscure act of racism in today's society. Even if it's a joke or not," said Senior Nick Gimenez.

The photo was shared among a social media inner circle, but someone took a screenshot of it and shared it publicly. It quickly went viral.

"It got too out of hand on Twitter and it shouldn't have gotten that out of hand," Monarch student Samuel Zabo said.

The girls play softball at Monarch.

Barry Rivers, who's daughter plays on the team, explained the students involved are straight 'A' students and all around good people.

"It's just a misunderstanding that some young girls who made a bad bit of judgment now they are being crucified and vilified for something that could happen to any teen," Rivers said.

The students have now been suspended for a week, while the school district investigates.

"I think they deserve it to be honest," Senior Hodge told Sutta.

The school district issued a statement that says in part, "The school's administration is working with the students involved and their families regarding this matter."

Sutta spoke with several players on the softball team who say this is not what it looks like. This is an inside joke and that the young lady in the middle of the photo has a family connection to a cotton farm.

"They made this poster as a joke, saying that because her family does own a cotton farm, and they posted it and it went viral," fellow player Kayla Ball said.

Cassandra Rice who also plays softball at Monarch claimed it wasn't what it seemed.

"They always make racist jokes but it was just like prom things that people make jokes about," said Rice.

Reached by phone Friday, Monarch softball team's head coach re-iterated the girls are not racist.

"Of course not," Kenny Forbes said.

Forbes said he would know. One of the girls in the photo is his daughter.

"She's scared to go to school. Now she doesn't want to attend prom," Forbes said.

Forbes said everyone regrets the poor judgment.

"If they thought it was going to hurt anyone's feelings, they wouldn't have done it. It's just a sad thing to see, especially when it's your kid," he said.

Friday evening the viral post continued to blow up. Monarch High's softball team had a game Friday but it ended up being a forfeit. The team apparently had received threats.


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