What was supposed to be a funny homecoming float has turned regrettable and even racial for some Ashland High School seniors.
FOX 21’s Dan Hanger followed up with one of the students behind the Trump-themed float, as well as an outraged parent and Mayor Debra Lewis – all with a goal of learning something out of what’s blown up to be one hot issue in Ashland.
"It looked like they were making fun of Mexicans. And as a mother of a daughter who is Mexican, I was horrified,” said Philomena Kebec, and citizen of Ashland and parent.
Senior Annie Lee says the float was supposed to be a satire depiction of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, his infamous wall and how he sees Mexicans on the other side.
The video of the controversial float was posted on Facebook by a resident who said he was Mexican American.
As for Tuesday, the video had been viewed more than 56,000 times – with many calling the float racist.
"It is not OK to dress up as another person's race. It doesn't matter if you are dressing up as a Mexican, or you are in black face, or you are dressing up as an Indian; that's not OK. It's highly offensive,” Kebec explained.
But for Lee, she feels this is all a massive misunderstanding.
"We weren't trying to make fun of any ethnicity or races. We were just trying to make fun of something that is really big in the media or in the news right now,” Lee said.
Lee compared the comical bits on Saturday Night Live about Donald Trump to the bit they performed on the senior float Friday.
"His whole, I want to build a wall thing and all Mexicans are horrible thing. … “We don't support that in any way, shape or form,” Lee explained.
"It was inappropriate and it should not have happened, but it did,” said Ashland Mayor Debra Lewis.
Lewis is calling on students and community members to learn from this mistake and build on it through dialogue and the city’s core values.
“Tolerance, acceptance of diversity, empathy of other people. Other people are affected by our words and by our actions,” Lewis said.
Meanwhile, as emotions over the float continued to remain hot Tuesday, there seemed to be some sense of growing forward for all who live and breathe in the city of 82-hundred.
"I'm kind of embarrassed. I don't want my classmates and I to be perceived as racist, because we are not,” Lee said.
School Superintendent Keith Hiltz put out a written statement taking full responsibility for not better supervising the homecoming floats.
He says he will take the opportunity to “engage students in a mature conversation about race and media and unintended consequences.