Students disciplined for placing ‘Whites only’ and ‘Blacks only’ signs above water fountains

Ohio's Colerain High School students were “issued significant disciplinary action” after posting a picture of the signs on social media.

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Students at Colerain High School in Ohio were “issued significant disciplinary action” this month after a picture showing water fountains on campus labeled “Whites only” and “Blacks only” was posted on social media, according to The Washington Post.

The students involved in the incident were not identified, and the discipline they received at the Cincinnati-area high school was not publicly detailed, per The Post.

Students at Colerain High School in Ohio were “issued significant disciplinary action” after a picture they took on of water fountains on campus with signs reading “Whites Only and “Blacks Only” was posted on social media. (Photo: Screenshot/

The Northwest Local School District said in a statement on its website that it was made aware of the incident on May 5. The statement said the students who wrote the signs left them up for less than a minute, took pictures, then removed the signs.

“We want to make sure our staff, students, families and community understands where we stand on racial intolerance, discrimination, racism and hatred. We take this matter very seriously. This type of behavior is not and will not be condoned or tolerated,” the statement read. “The actions that were displayed do NOT reflect the values and the culture we’ve worked so hard to cultivate in all of our schools across the district.”

“NWLSD stands firm in creating a culture of inclusivity, respect, kindness and compassion for everyone,” its message continued. “As a school community, it’s our responsibility to uphold these values, and we will not tolerate any action from anyone that compromises or disrupts that culture.”

A letter sent to parents said that two students at Colerain High were thought to have been involved with the incident.

The U.S. has seen a resurgence in race-related confrontations over the past year, as tension stemming from the political environment has heightened. Various states have banned the teaching of critical race theory, the legal theory that racism has shaped America, saying it is inherently racist.

This incident, though, proves that understanding the effects of historical racism is important. The signs posted at the Ohio school are reminiscent of segregation during the Jim Crow era. White and Black people were barred from frequenting the same locales and using the same public utilities.

This is not an isolated incident. There have been various racist incidents in high schools across the country recently. 

As reported by theGrio last month, a promposal at Central High School in Illinois went viral because of what many have described as its racist overtones. According to ABC 7 Chicago, a video showed two teenagers holding a sign that read, “If I was Black, I’d be picking cotton, but I’m white, so I’m picking you. Prom?” 

This week, The Roeper School, a campus for gifted students in Birmingham, Michigan, came under fire after a teacher handed out an assignment that featured pictures of primates alongside a photo of former President Barack Obama. 

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