JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Two photos showing high school students in what appears to be "black face" generated hundreds of shares on Facebook this week sparked outrage and prompted Gardendale's High School principal to issue a statement that the school was looking into it.
One photo, first posted on Instagram several months ago, shows two white 16-year-old girls from Gardendale High School. No text was attached to the photo.
The other photo, first posted on Snapchat, features a teenage boy and girl, both white, from Mortimer Jordan High School with a racial slur.
It cannot be verified whether the racial slur was on the original post or not.
"I want people to learn about his and learn from it," a 20-year-old Gardendale graduate who prefers to be identified as Zac, said.
He was one of the first to post the images and encourages others to share each on Facebook. The images of prompting hundreds of shares and mostly angry reactions.
It also prompted community activists Frank Matthews and Carlos Chaverst to hold a news conference in front of Gardendale High School.
"The actions of these children, they are that. But it's learned behavior from somewhere," Matthews said.
He urged the school to adopt diversity training for students and employees.
The father of one of the 16-year-old girls said the photo was not racially motivated, but "two 16-year-old girls doing a charcoal mask," a makeup mask application that has become trendy.
The father said one of the girls decided to take a picture and it was posted on Instagram with no racial intent in mind.
"Poor judgment," he said.
Gardendale High School's principal said the school is investigating and gathering more information based on school board protocol.
The images of the students are purposefully blurred for this story because the individuals are under the age of 18.