Photo of 5 males in KKK hoods leads to discipline against students in Creston, Iowa

Students at Creston (Iowa) Community High School have been disciplined after a photo showing five males wearing Ku Klux Klan hoods circulated on social media Wednesday morning.

The photo, posted on Twitter and Facebook, shows the people in front of a burning cross. One of the males is holding a rifle with a scope on it, and another is holding a red flag that may be a Confederate flag.

Principal Bill Messerole said the five people in the photo are students. He called the issue a “student discipline issue that has been dealt with.” He would not specify how the students were disciplined and that the investigation into the incident was continuing.

“We took immediate action around 8 this morning and discipline was handed out,” Messerole said.

“We felt the same way that anyone would looking at that photo – just kind of, ‘Oh, my goodness.’

“This is embarrassing for everyone,” Messerole said. “This is not a good reflection of Creston High School. This is not a reflection of our community.”

Creston, a city of about 7,800 people, is 104 miles east of Omaha.

Creston Police Chief Paul Ver Meer said the department is aware of the photo but is not involved in an investigation.

“As of right now, the school is handling it internally,” Ver Meer said, adding that the photo likely was taken outside of Creston city limits.

Trey Cheers, a 2017 graduate of Creston Community High School, said the photo was sent to him by a friend, who received it from the student who took it. He posted it on Twitter, writing, “… Makes me embarrassed to be from this town.”

“I was disgusted,” Cheers said in a phone interview. Creston, he said, is a “loving” community.

“It’s just sad that one picture can ruin our reputation.”

Messerole said he can’t confirm if any or all of the people in the photo were football players.

Tucker Flynn, a senior on the Creston football team, posted a statement Wednesday that said, in part, “The 5 individuals that were involved with the picture are clearly in the wrong and they will face the consequences eventually. But I can promise everyone that as a whole our football team and community aren’t about that. The actions made by a small group shouldn’t represent the entire football team and community. I’m proud to be (a part) of what this team is actually about and it’s sad to see something like this ruin a rich tradition we carry.”

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