A picture of students with a decorated rolling trash can has prompted changes in the Jenkins County school system.
The controversy began over a rolling trash bin decorated as part of the Jenkins County High School Science Club’s “Green Week” activities in conjunction with Earth Day. Students were encouraged to participate in activities to ‘Go Green,’ including one to ‘Go Outside the Bag.’ According to the school system, students were challenged to “leave their backpack at home and carry their books in another container.” During this activity, a group of high school students decided to transport their school belongings in a decorated rolling trash bin.
The bin itself was not the issue, but instead the decorations and the name the students donned on the trash can. The trash bin displayed a female character with long blonde hair, green eyes, long eye lashes, and red lips. The name on the front read ‘Shanequa.’ Four students posed for a photo with the trash can for the activity photo op.
The comments on social media began flowing in almost immediately.
“It symbolized a Black female with lashes. Blonde hair, big lips, red lips, and the name really stood out when they named it Shanequa,” one parent told WRDW out of Augusta. “Why was the trashcan created? Like why was it decorated? It shouldn’t have been decorated. If they want to roll the trashcan, they should have just rolled the trashcan.”
School System Responds
On Friday, Principal Rob Gray sent out a letter in which he called the display ‘inappropriate’ and noted that it was immediately removed from the parent-student-school Facebook page.
“After a thorough review by our internal team, we have begun the process of creating new procedures and protocols to prevent this situation from happening again,” he wrote.
The school system superintendent also published a statement:
The letter, however, was not enough for some who said the apology was lackluster and should have come with disciplinary actions for the students who posed in the photo.