Prep School Student 'Mocks' White Kids in 'Racist' Instagram Photos

social media apps on a smartphoneA teen who became the first black female student president at a Lawrenceville, New Jersey prep school had to resign after administrators discovered she had mocked "typical white classmates" in photos posted online. In the images posted to Instagram back in March, Maya Peterson posed with a hockey stick, wearing L.L.Bean duck boots and a Yale sweatshirt. The accompanying hashtags read: "#romney2016," "#confederate," and "#peakedinhighschool," and she also joked that she was representative of a typical "Lawrenceville boi."

Here's one of the pics:


Maya Peterson

Peterson, who was told that the photos were "offensive," had no choice but to step down from her post as president or else face serious disciplinary action. Still, she says she's not exactly repentant, explaining to BuzzFeed, "I’m not saying what I did was right. But it wasn’t racist. I was just calling those guys exactly what they are. And Lawrenceville is the type of place where those kids are idolized.”

While Peterson may stand by her actions, there are surely plenty of kids who would be upset to have to give up their student presidency -- or any other honor like it -- as a result of pics posted online.

This case only serves to underline how imperative it is for parents to stress to their kids that what they share online can have serious consequences -- in the near and distant future. Perhaps Peterson doesn't have any regrets about it right now, but what about when she's out in the world, looking for a job, a date, entrée to college or grad school?

Given that everything we post online could be subject to intense scrutiny at any time, it seems as though we can't drill it into our teens' heads enough that they need to think before they post anything! Even if they think it is perfectly innocent, satirical, or justified, if it could be misconstrued or used against them at some point, they might want to think twice about hitting "share."

Since the controversy, Peterson has graduated from Lawrenceville School. No matter how strong her convictions now, should be interesting to see how she feels about it all in a few months or years ... After all, what she and other teens post online isn't something they'll ever be able to wish away easily.

What conversations have you had with your teen about what they post online?


Image via Jason Howie/Flickr & Instagram

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