ABC7 EXCLUSIVE: New Trier student allegedly posts racist caption

WINNETKA, Ill. (WLS) -- An investigation is underway after a north suburban high school student allegedly posted a photo with a racially offensive caption.

Sources tell ABC7 Eyewitness News that administrators for New Trier High School in Winnetka have suspended the two students involved and sent home a letter to parents Friday evening explaining the incident.

It is consistently ranked as one of the best high schools in the state. A New Trier High School education carries a lot of weight with colleges and employers. Students from the school are encouraged help others as well, which is why a group of sophomore students was at Parker Community Academy earlier this year mentoring elementary students from Chicago's South Side through a program called "A Day of Service."

When a student posted a picture on social media of the African American students with a racially offensive caption, other students and staff took offense.

"It's not what we're about and clearly there's people that feel strongly about the topic, definitely at New Trier. I mean, we're not racist," said student Michael Moran.

The student who posted the picture took it down after a few minutes, but another student who was offended by it reposted it, along with a rebuke of the first student.

New Trier administrators sent a letter to parents informing them, saying in part, "This isolated incident does not reflect the experience or feelings of the hundreds of New Trier students who forge bonds and friendships through these service partnerships each year."

Chicago Public Schools partners with New Trier in the program. They issued a statement of their own Friday night saying, "This unfortunate incident should not take away from the value and positive impact of this program."

"I would like to think that New Trier is a place where we are taught to help other people," Moran said.

Sources said the student who reposted the original message comes from a diverse family background himself, and was upset about it.

The letter sent home by school administrators suggests that parents use this incident as a teachable moment with their children.

Copyright © 2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.