Huntsville City Schools announced late Wednesday that it is postponing Friday's football game between Grissom and Huntsville high schools due to "inappropriate posts on social media turned racially motivated and violent images into 'rivalry material.'"
The school system has not released additional details on the posts, other than to say it does not "tolerate violence or racism of any kind" and that the posts "do not reflect the mission, vision, and core values of the school district."
Schools officials confirmed one of the images shows Chris Brown next to Rihanna with the labels of "Huntsville" on Brown and "Grissom" on Rihanna.
Another image was a still of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer, with his knee on George Floyd's neck. In that image, "HHS" was near Chauvin and "GHS" was above Floyd.
"Ms. Finley used the word 'disappointing.' It is disappointing. It's also shocking because you expect better from our students," said Huntsville City School Board President Elisa Ferrell.
School board member Carlos Matthews said when he heard about the posts, he was surprised and saddened to hear about those posts from students.
"Especially in this day and age, with the things that are going on around the country, the divisiveness that we've seen on different issues. So I was very surprised to see it, but at the same time, the underlying issue is what we've got to get to," Matthews said.
In its news release, the system said the students involved in the incident will be disciplined in accordance with the Behavioral Learning Guide.
"It's very specific that threats, racism, racially motivated aggression is not acceptable and that there are consequences to actions," Ferrell said.
She also cautioned students about putting similar posts online because they won't disappear.
"The things that they put on Instagram and Facebook, they don't go away. Someone has a screen shot, someone remembers and it is going to come up over and over again, so be better," Ferrell said.
Grissom High School is in Ferrell's district. She said even though the posts appear to stem from a student or students at Huntsville High School, Grissom students shouldn't make a proportional response.
"I would encourage our Grissom students strongly, don't respond in kind. Do better than that. Don't respond in kind. And for the Huntsville High students, I know that you're not all this person. I know that you're not all this mindset and I appreciate the work that you're going to do in your school to make sure that you take care of the responsiveness to other cultures, other genders, other religious because this is not acceptable," Ferrell said.
The game now is scheduled for Sept. 24.