The incident happened at Hidden Oaks Middle School in Palm City, about 100 miles north of Miami.
The district expects to finalize its investigation within the next 48 hours, according to the statement.
“Students who were involved in this disgraceful incident will be provided the due process afforded under federal and state law, and our investigation will not compromise those rights,” he said in the statement. “The District is, however, appalled, and saddened by this incident which is contrary to our values, and the ideals that are instilled in our students.”
The district “will mete out appropriate disciplinary consequences to any students who participated in this behavior, pursuant to the District’s Code of Student Conduct,” Millay said in the statement, adding federal law prevents them from identifying the students or what disciplinary action is taken.
On Tuesday, members of the community expressed outrage at the photo during public comments at a Martin County School Board meeting.
A number of speakers said the incident is why lessons on diversity, Black history and racism are important.
Martin County NAACP President Jimmy Smith said the district should hire more Black and brown teachers to better match the area’s diversity.
“You will never solve this problem until we learn to know each other,” Smith said.
The Martin School District has 18,542 students, according to a 2020-21 Report Card from the Florida Department of Education.
The report said 6.3% of the students are Black/African American, 54.6% are White and 34.1% are Hispanic.