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Students involved in racist photo at Hidden Oaks Middle School in Martin County issue apology

'We were wrong and we made a big mistake when we spelled out that derogatory word,' letter says
Hidden Oaks Middle School in Palm City, Florida
Posted at 4:20 PM, May 26, 2022

PALM CITY, Fla. — More than a week after a racist photo surfaced on social media involving six students at a Martin County middle school, the children in the picture have issued an apology.

The statement was released Thursday and said it was addressed to the community and everyone that was hurt by the picture.

The photo showed the six students standing outside Hidden Oaks Middle School in Palm City on May 16, holding letters that spell a racial slur.

Blurred picture of Hidden Oaks Middle School students holding letters spelling racist slur
This blurred photograph shows students at Hidden Oaks Middle School holding letters spelling out a racist slur.

"We were wrong and we made a big mistake when we spelled out that derogatory word. We clearly didn't understand the full impact of it, and how it hurts so many people," the letter said. "We thought that word is much like other curse words, but it's not like other curse words. We now know there's nothing funny about it. We were not thinking how this terrible word has hurt so many people for so long."

The letter goes on to say that they are deeply sorry, ashamed and take full responsibility for their actions.

"We take full responsibility for our actions, and we want to apologize to everyone," the letter said.

Read the full apology letter below:

The children said they have started taking action to apologize in person to many of the people that they hurt.

The school district has not released the names of the students involved in the incident or what discipline was imposed, saying state and federal law prohibits disclosing student education records.

The district said last week that no school personnel was involved in the incident or knew about the students' plan to create the photo.

The picture sparked outrage from the community including condemnation from Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons, a graduate of Martin County High School.