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High School Students Slammed For Racist "Corona Time" Photo

A group of Dutch high school students recently came under fire after appearing to make light of the coronavirus outbreak with a racist photo shoot.

As the Independent reported, nineteen students from Belgium's Sin-Paulus Campus College Waregem were pictured wearing traditional Chinese outfits and posing with a homemade sign reading, "Corona Time".

The offensive photo was originally posted online by the students' secondary school, but has since been taken down.

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In the picture, some of the teens are wearing men's and women's traditional outfits, while a few others are dressed to resemble pandas. One of the people holding the cardboard sign, which features a drawing of a person wearing a facial mask, is wearing blue latex gloves.

Another student was photographed in an outrageously inappropriate and racist manner.

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Standing in the second row, the teen can be seen pulling at the corners of her eyes with her fingers. This is considered a derogatory and mocking gesture directed towards people of East Asian descent.

Although the school was quick to remove the photo from its social media pages amid serious backlash, that didn't stop it from spreading across the internet anyway.

On Twitter, the racist pic has been retweeted nearly 10,000 times, and thousands of users have flocked to the comments to express their disgust at the students' actions.

"That's some high-effort racism," this person wrote. "Somebody had to go out and buy all those hats."

Another added, "I’d really like to know the story behind this photo because I have so, so, sooo many questions about what everyone involved was thinking."

The picture was also shared on Instagram by the Netherlands-based awareness group, Broodje Kaas Met Sambal.

The group, which addresses racism against the Asian community in the country, wrote that, "the school has silently removed the photos, but this certainly does not solve the problem and shows once again how much it is necessary to deal with racism and discrimination in education."

“As an educational institution, you have a very large influence on the future generation," the group continued.

Facebook | Rui Jun Long

"The fact that you approve of this kind of behavior and promote it yourself on your channels is far from responsible and shows that something is wrong with you."

Rotterdam-based photographer Rui Jun Luong, who posted the photo to her Facebook page, was left stunned by the students' decorum.

Facebook | Rui Jun Luong

“Unbelievable," she captioned the post. "How can people get it into their head [that it is ok] to put this on, make the board, pose for the photo including gloves and pulling eyes… that this school in Belgium with the slogan ‘Warm Heart, Fresh Look, Open Mind’ approved and published."

"This IS offensive and you can’t call this playful either. This is far from playful, it is racist, ridiculing our culture and NOT FUNNY."

"It looks like that [sic] they don’t take this seriously. The post is offensive, hurtful and it does cause harm."

After deleting it from their social media, the school proceeded to delete both its Facebook and Instagram pages.

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The school explained to The Independent that the photo was taken as part of a "100 days celebration," in which those in their final year "celebrate the end of their secondary education in a carnivalesque way. They choose an outfit long beforehand, in this case even long before there was any mention of the coronavirus.

"The students alluded to the recent events in a playful way by adding a sign. Neither the school team, nor the students involved, have ever had the intention of adopting a condescending or offensive attitude."

In a press release, the school addressed the incident and apologized for what they say was intended to be a "playful class photo."

"Neither the school team, nor the students involved have ever had the intention of adopting a condescending or offensive attitude. Nonetheless, the school would like to express its apologies publicly and explicitly through this statement. We did not estimate the consequences of publishing this picture correctly and we regret having offended certain population groups by it."

h/t: Independent