Palmdale school noose: Principal took photo, sent to entire staff

PALMDALE, Calif. (KABC) -- The principal of a Palmdale school took the controversial noose photo and distributed it to the entire staff, the superintendent said.

"What we know is that the principal did take the picture and sent it out to the entire staff. For what purpose we don't know that," said Raul Maldonado, district superintendent.

Palmdale School District officials said soon after the Summerwind staff got the photo, someone photocopied the picture, made it available to the public, where it went viral and drummed up controversy.

Tuesday night, a town hall meeting lasted five hours at the elementary school. Things got heated and emotional.

"It hurts me. I should never have to explain a noose, and what's funny? Tell me the joke 'cause I missed it," said one attendee.

"We must address this incident quickly and meaningfully so we can give our students the best education possible," another attendee said.

School district officials now say the teachers found the noose in a storage room they were cleaning out on campus.

"The principal had asked that they go in there in case they wanted to keep something or throw stuff away and according to the information that I have, that's where it was found," Maldonado said.

The community is eagerly waiting for answers. They want to know why those teachers were holding that noose in that photograph.

School district officials told Eyewitness News investigators plan to start interviewing those teachers and the principal next week, and they're hoping to have some answers soon after.

Officials say no matter the outcome of the investigation, it's doubtful the teachers or the principal will ever be educators at Summerwind again.

"No they cannot come back to this school, but again I'm going to allow the investigation to continue because the investigation will indicate to us what exactly are the next steps," Maldonado said.

The principal who took the photo, Linda Brandts, is on administrative leave. She is also a school board member for the Southern Kern Unified School District.
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