A Virginia high school is batting down accusations that its principal is flashing gang signs in a recent photo with students.
The photo shows Brunswick High School principal Warren Bell making hand gestures, next to five students, all of whom are also gesturing with their hands.
Bell wasn't making any inappropriate signs, and was actually trying to get the students, who were making a commotion in the restroom by taking the photos, to stop, Superintendent Dora Wynn said in a statement to ABC News.
"When the principal saw that the students were posing and making inappropriate gestures, he motioned for the students to stop what they were doing," Wynn said in the statement. "A student snapped a picture just as the principal was gesturing for the students to stop. That picture is construed by some as showing the principal was engaging in inappropriate conduct when, in reality, he was attempting to stop the students from continuing their inappropriate behavior."
The photo has been circulating online, the school said. It's unclear where it came from.
Some parents told ABC News affiliate WRIC-TV in Richmond they believe the principal showed poor judgment.
"I am really appalled," Shirley Penn, whose daughter attends the school, told the station. "Seeing is believing. He is in the picture and from what I can make out, he's making signs."
Geonni Stockton, one of the students in the controversial photo, told WRIC the students didn't know the principal was in the photo until after it was taken. Stockton doesn't believe the principal meant any harm.
"We ain't no gang," he told the station. "We were just posing for the picture. It surprised me how much people saw it, how people took it, much views it got and stuff, how many people took it the wrong way."