June 14, 2024

Dad stopping superintendent from shaking daughter’s hand at graduation sparks cries of racism: ‘Don’t want her touching him’

A Wisconsin father was caught on camera shoving aside a school administrator to stop him from shaking his daughter’s hand during her high school graduation — an incident some are saying appears racially charged.

“That’s my daughter,” the father, who is white, was heard saying as he leaped to the graduation stage and shoved aside Baraboo School District Superintendent Rainey Briggs, who is black, in late May.

“I don’t want her touching him,” the father continued in the footage as he pushed Briggs aside — just moments before his daughter was to shake his hand as she received her diploma.

The father of a graduate at Baraboo High School in Wisconsin rushed to the stage as his daughter was walking across to receive her diploma, and forcibly pushed the district's superintendent away from the ceremony as she approached him
A Wisconsin father was caught on camera shoving aside a school administrator to stop him from shaking his daughter’s hand during her high school graduation. MAX TV – BARABOO/YouTube

Briggs was heard telling the father to take his hands off him, while the daughter and others on stage looked on with alarm and confusion.

The father was escorted out of the building and was later charged with disorderly conduct, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

It remains unclear what brought about the incident.

“No one should have to endure this type of gross & racist conduct,” wrote Wisconsin state Rep. Francesca Hong in an X post after the footage was released.

“Dr. Briggs is an excellent superintendent who cares deeply about the well-being of all students in the Baraboo District,” she added.

Briggs and other members of the Baraboo school board have been at the center of controversy in recent weeks, according to the Journal Sentinel, with his name being lumped in alongside calls for board president Kevin Vodak to be removed over accusations that he abused his powers to raise administrator salaries.

The father of a graduate at Baraboo High School in Wisconsin rushed to the stage as his daughter was walking across to receive her diploma, and forcibly pushed the district's superintendent away from the ceremony as she approached him
“That’s my daughter,” the father, who is white, was heard saying as he leaped to the graduation stage and shoved aside Baraboo School District Superintendent Rainey Briggs, who is black, in late May. MAX TV – BARABOO/YouTube

But Vodak was onstage during the ceremony and even shook the daughter’s hand, while the father only targeted Briggs.

The school board has not commented on what motivated the incident, but said in a statement that there was no place for “threatening, intimidating, or physically harming behaviors against anyone in our school district community.”

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“That this adult felt emboldened to behave in this way in front of hundreds of students and other adults should deeply trouble us all; this type of behavior will not be tolerated,” the Baraboo Board of Education said.

Baraboo High School was previously the center of racial controversy in 2018 when a group of then-students were photographed giving the Nazi salute during a prom photo shoot, while a boy in the front row also flashed an “Okay” sign, which has become associated with white power groups.

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