Issaquah High School students walked out of class Wednesday afternoon to condemn a racist sign that a student used to ask another student out to a dance.

Starting early this week, images of the sign (and the student who created it) circulated online. The sign read: “If I was [sic] black, I’d be picking cotton. But instead, I pick you.”

“Our District has been on a four-year journey with cultural competency and equity work, but we know there is more for us to do,” Issaquah School District spokeswoman L. Michelle wrote in an email. “There is no doubt that racism exists in our nation and in our communities and schools as well.”

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin Jr. took to Twitter on Monday to condemn the sign, which appears to be a copycat version of a long-circulating slur. According to news articles, students across the country, including in Florida and in Arizona, have used the same phrasing for their school-dance proposals, prompting condemnation from their districts.

Though the proposal isn’t unique, the incident is one of several recent instances of Seattle-area students’ creating racist images.

A photo of two students from Mercer Island High School giving a Nazi salute was posted to social-media platforms in March. And in January at Seattle’s Roosevelt High School, the student newspaper printed a racist image on its front page.


On Tuesday, KIRO (Channel 7) reported that the Issaquah teen responsible for making and posting the sign to social media apologized via Instagram.

Issaquah School District said it is investigating the incident, but did not provide additional details, citing student privacy laws.