Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons condemns racist photo taken outside Hidden Oaks Middle School

Martin County High School graduate urges disciplinary action against students
Denver Broncos free safety Justin Simmons, Jan. 8, 2022
Posted at 11:19 AM, May 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-18 11:31:11-04

PALM CITY, Fla. — A Pro Bowl safety for the Denver Broncos is speaking out against a disturbing photo that prompted an investigation by the Martin County School District.

Justin Simmons, who graduated from Martin County High School, tweeted that he is urging disciplinary action against the children in the picture, which was taken outside Hidden Oaks Middle School.

Simmons remains active in the community, frequently visiting students to stress education and having a good character.

The school district confirmed Tuesday that the photo, which shows six children each holding a letter that spells out a racial slur, is authentic.

The district said the students made the racial slur after completing a school art project.

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.

WPTV is choosing to show the photograph in question but is blurring the images of the students' faces and all but the first letter of the word.

Simmons tweeted he will not be doing anything for Hidden Oaks Middle School until disciplinary action is taken against the students.

"This type of behavior is completely unacceptable. And if the school fails to act it means this type of behavior is allowed," Simmons said in a separate tweet.

The district also said it has zero tolerance for hurtful or discriminatory messages of any type.

"We are moving with all deliberate speed to interview all those who may have been involved in this shameful incident," Superintendent Dr. John D. Millay said Tuesday.

Millay said Tuesday afternoon that he expects the school district's investigation to be finalized within the next 48 hours.