A black student body president in New Jersey who attended a high school in one of the nation’s wealthiest areas was pressured to resign after she posted a picture of herself in a Yale University sweatshirt on Instagram, mocking her rich, white classmates.
Upon her resignation, 17-year-old Maya Peterson told BuzzFeed: “I understand why I hurt people’s feelings, but I didn’t become president to make sure rich white guys had more representation on campus. Let’s be honest. They’re not the ones that feel uncomfortable here.”
In March, she posted a picture of herself decked in the Yale sweatshirt, baggy corduroy pans and L.L.Bean duck boots, striking a pose while holding a hockey stick, the New York Post reported. She labeled the photos: “Lawrenceville boy,” and characterized them as typical representations of the study body, the New York Post said. She also included hashtags #romney2016, #confederate and #peakedinhighschool.
Maya said there photos were jokes, posted in response to previous complaints from fellow students about her senior picture, during which she posed with 10 black friends doing the “Black Power” salute, the New York Post reported.
One student opined, “You’re the student body president, and you’re mocking and blatantly insulting a large group of the school’s male population,” the newspaper reported.
Maya replied, “Yes, I am making a mockery of the right-wing, confederate-flag hanging, openly misogynistic Lawrentians. If that’s a large portion of the school’s male population, then I think the issue is not with my bringing attention to it in a lighthearted way, but rather why none has brought attention to it before.”
After the Instagram photos surfaced, school officials warned Maya of disciplinary action if she refused to resign. She ultimately did, saying that she’s glad to have resigned and graduated.
“I’m not saying what I did was right,” she said, the Post reported. “But it wasn’t racist. I was just calling those guys exactly what they are. And Lawrenceville is the type of place where those kids are idolized.”
Tuition at the school costs about $53,000 per year.