Residents of Creston, Iowa are shocked, disgusted and embarrassed after five students who attend Creston Community High School posted an image in KKK hoods accompanied by a burning cross and Confederate flag to social media. The students have since been disciplined by the school, while the principal and staff are still trying to work out the best way to handle the situation.

The image was seen on social media on Wednesday morning, showing five male students wearing white Ku Klux Klan hoods, standing in front of a burning cross. As reported by ABC 7, one student could be seen to be holding a rifle, while another bore what is likely a furled Confederate flag.

High school disciplines students over KKK image

Bill Messerole, Principal of Creston Community High said after the incident that the school is now in the “spotlight” and he and his staff will have to decide how best to handle it as it is definitely “not OK.” Messerole referred to the incident as a “student discipline issue” which the school has dealt with, but did not specify what action had been taken. However, as reported by the Omaha World-Herald, several residents had said the five students had received a nine-day suspension, which some said was not enough. However, the following tweet mentions a two-week suspension from football.

The principal went on to say there appears to have been something missing in how things are presented to kids these days.

He said they need to do something different as this is not their culture. Messerole said what appears in the KKK-related image isn’t what they teach and is not among the community values.

Paul Ver Meer, the Creston Police Chief, was contacted but said police are aware of the Ku Klux Klan related photo, but that there was no ongoing investigation into the issue.

Reactions to the KKK image

While there was no confirmation that the students were on the school’s football team, Tucker Flynn, a student on the team posted a statement to say the five students in the photo were “clearly in the wrong.” Flynn went on to stress that the football team and the community aren’t “about that” and that the actions of a small group do not represent the team or community as a whole.

Others in the team reacted on Twitter.

Robert Smallwood, 44, is the father of a student at the school and said he believes schools tend to ignore the horrors of slavery and the actions of slave owners, as well as what the Ku Klux Klan has done to African-Americans. Smallwood believes if the students pictured in the KKK-related image had understood that period better, the incident might never have happened.