(CNN) -

Money, prestige and race are front and center in an ongoing controversy surrounding one of the most expensive prep schools in the country and its former student-body president.

Maya Peterson was the first black female student president of The Lawrenceville School, an affluent academy for boarding and day students located in New Jersey.

This March, after Peterson mocked her white male classmates on Instagram, she claims she was asked to step down or face disciplinary action.

According to reports, Peterson took the first option and resigned under administrative pressure.

The Instagram photos that led to Peterson's ouster are seemingly harmless: Peterson is dressed in stereotypical preppy male clothing, holding a hockey stick and staring straight into the camera.

But with added hashtags including "#confederate," "#romney2016" and "#peakedinhighschool", some Lawrenceville students thought the pictures were offensive.

"You're the student body president, and you're mocking and blatantly insulting a large group of the school's male population," one student commented on the photo.

Some took it further.

On the school's Facebook alumni page, comments included some visceral personal attacks calling Peterson "a racist" and one post referring to her has a "miserable person" and "spoiled malcontent."

"The PC policies and diversity for the sake of diversity over the last fifteen years ... have precipitated this sort of event," one commenter said.

Peterson acknowledged her post could make white students uncomfortable.

"Yes, I am making a mockery of the right-wing, confederate-flag hanging, openly misogynistic Lawrentians," Peterson told BuzzFeed. "If that's a large portion of the school's male population, then I think the issue is not with my bringing attention to it in a lighthearted way, but rather why no one has brought attention to it before."

Peterson could not be reached for comment by CNN as of publication.

Posting the Instagram photo was a response to fellow classmates' concerns regarding her yearbook picture, Peterson told BuzzFeed. In the yearbook photo, she and 10 black friends raised their fists in the classic "black power" salute.

Peterson's point of view is not unfounded, according to other Lawrenceville graduates.

Anthony Smith graduated from The Lawrenceville School in 2007 and recounted several instances of racism on campus, in an e-mail exchange with CNN.

In some cases racial slurs were directed at him, he said.

"I was really weirded out by how flippantly (racial slurs) were used," he said.

Other things on campus made him uncomfortable.

"On my way to class and back, I passed by three confederate flags," Smith said.