The mum, who asked to remain anonymous, admitted that she “didn’t think anything of” the photo at first, explaining that she and her son’s teacher had a close relationship.
“It was ‘ha, ha,’ and I moved on," she told DFW. "The picture then began to bother me a little bit, showed it and my family got really upset about it."
She said her sister shared the picture on social media and, from there, the issue snowballed.
"I kept stating, ‘It’s a joke you know, she’s not like that, she’s not a racist, she’s not’,” the mother said.
“You know? She doesn’t have bad intent with this.”
She added that she’d spoken to the teacher over the phone on Tuesday night, as an official probe was launched into the incident.
“(The teacher) assured me that she would never do anything to hurt me or my child, and I know that she didn’t need to tell me that,” the mum said.
“Her last words to me were, ‘Do me a favour, and regardless of what happens with this situation, never stray away from the fact that I love you, I love your son, and I will never do anything to hurt y’all.”
The mother continued: "I can’t go on knowing that this lady’s life is being destroyed over nothing, to me. You know, it might be big to everybody else, but it was a joke between me, her and my son, and nobody knows the relationship that we have, except the three of us," she said, adding that she had pleaded with authorities not to fire the teacher.
On Wednesday, Greenville Independent School District (GISD) sent an apology letter to parents explaining that the Lamar Elementary school teacher had been placed on administrative leave while it carried out investigations.