High school students in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, are outraged by an Instagram account that has drawn the attention of both school administrators and police.
Superintendent Robert Jokela said Fitchburg Public Schools became aware of the "unacceptable" social media page that referenced the high school last Friday, according to a statement posted to Facebook.
Within 18 hours of the page's creation, district officials contacted the proper authorities immediately, Jokela said. Fitchburg High School also issued a statement to all families and students on Friday regarding the social media page.
In the email to parents Friday, Principal Jeremy Roche said the "disturbing Instagram page" depicts "Black or African-American students in a variety of pictures posted to the site."
Roche said the account is not only "wrong and divisive" but also "potentially a hate crime and illegal." The page has been reported as a hate crime on Instagram.
Fitchburg police confirmed they are investigating but would not comment any further, including whether or not it's being treated as a hate crime.
Roche also said school officials will do everything in their power "to stop these types of social media sites and divisive forces."
The principal's email went on to say that they are 100% committed to having a welcoming and belonging environment for all students, families and staff.
The superintendent echoed that sentiment in his own statement, saying Fitchburg Public Schools' goal is to provide a welcoming and belonging environment for all students.
Jokela said school officials are unable to comment further at this time, as the matter is being addressed currently.
"The privacy of our students is paramount," he said.
Students who spoke to NBC10 Boston Monday said they didn't see much of what was posted on Instagram, because when they saw the page name, they had seen enough.
Fitchburg senior Gabriel Luciano was sickened by what little he saw. He said the page popped up as a suggestion on Instagram, and when he read what it was called, he immediately blocked it.
"I'm disgusted honestly, I'm really disgusted," Luciano said. "I don't know why people do things like this."
Kirsten Dame, another Fitchburg senior, said she happened to see the account and noticed it was quickly taken down.
"They're taking pictures of Black people, posting them as slaves, and I'm like, OK Jesus. I don't know who would do that, but it's terrible," Dame said. "It's sad. I don't know much about it."
"That's pretty bad for something like that to go on," grandparent Karent Strunk said. "Who would do that nowadays, you know?"
Students and parents at the high school said they're stunned to hear that it happened in their own community.
"It's kind of embarrassing for us because we're better than this," student Derrick Thomas said.
"I don't know what's going on with these kids these days but it's terrible," parent Liz Leonforte said.