Photos surfaced on social media Wednesday from what school Superintendent Jim Greenwald called a Granite City High School dance team “community outreach event” with Granite City police.
It’s safe to say the community of just under 30,000 on the western border of Illinois has not been pleased with the outreach.
“When I saw the photos I was very shocked, very disappointed, very surprised,” Greenwald told KSDK. “[I] knew immediately it was very inappropriate and they had crossed the line.”
Two high-school-age girls can be seen in the photos dressed in their dance team uniforms with their hands against a Granite City police SUV, smiling back at the camera, while an adult poses sternly with her arms crossed on top of the police vehicle.
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In another photo, a third girl is pictured squatting between the two girls with her arms extended as if hugging her teammates.
Greenwald confirmed to KTVI that the woman pictured atop the SUV is the girls’ coach, a part-time school district employee, and said that the district has not decided what, if any, punishment that coach or the individual members of the dance team might face.
“The high school principal and the athletic director met with the coach last night and made clear that this was not appropriate and that they have to think before they act. They represent the school,” Greenwald told the station.
When KSDK initially posted the photos to the station’s Facebook page Thursday night, they drew 165 comments, most of them concerned about the suggestive poses, the angle of the photos and the coach’s decision to pose in the photos.
“I’d be pissed if it were one of my girls,” one commenter wrote. “Choose another angle!”
“And you wonder why there so much sex trafficking going on,” wrote another. “Just put yourself out there for all the perverts then that can be the photo we used to look for you while you come up missing. This is very tasteless!”
But some also criticized the station instead of the girls or their coach.
“You aired this and barely blurred out the identity of those underage girls who have to go to school tomorrow?” one person asked.
McClatchy has decided to publish a blurred version of a different photo than the one being criticized on Facebook.