ESCONDIDO -- Escondido High School in Southern California says its taking disciplinary action after a photo surfaced on social media showing students wearing t-shirts lettered with a racial slur.
The school said in part that,” While the students involved are being held accountable and disciplinary consequences are occurring, we are using this unfortunate opportunity to teach valuable lessons that will last far beyond a period of punishment.”
The photo shows students wearing t-shirts displaying letters lined up to spell a racial slur, often referred to as the “n-word.”
Former students said that the photo was taken last Thursday around noon during a senior picnic at the school. Nine students participated in the photo.
The traditional picnic where the photo was taken allows seniors to wear shirts displaying letters that spell words with their friends in a senior photo.
Students say the words must be pre-approved, but that some students often gather after taking the official photo to spell different words.
Read the school’s full statement below:
“Last Thursday (9/27/18) during a senior event at Escondido High School, a group of students made a poor decision to participate in an activity that is not aligned with the schools’ or districts’ culture and values. Escondido Union High School District (EUHSD) has been committed to creating a learning environment where every student feels included and welcomed. Unfortunately, the poor choices by a few have had a significant impact on our students and staff throughout the district, the school communities and even the greater community itself. We have been starkly reminded of the important work we must continue to do and the responsibility we have as a public school district to ensure every campus is a safe and respectful educational environment. While the students involved are being held accountable and disciplinary consequences are occurring, we are using this unfortunate opportunity to teach valuable lessons that will last far beyond a period of punishment. EUHSD staff, along with other experts, are working directly with those involved to build their understanding of the fact the words and actions they chose to use are rooted in historical terms speaking directly to oppression and violence against different groups of people. We are also developing plans to bring additional training, dialogue and activities to the broader student body not only at EHS, but also across our district. As educators, we will continue to teach and guide students toward making wise, informed decisions. We are a district that prides itself on inclusion and embraces diversity. Messages of racism or divisiveness will not be tolerated and any incidents should be immediately reported to an administrator. I am confident we can use this situation to improve on our overall cultural understanding, collaboration, and compassion as we build a more positive and safe school culture for all students. Together, EUHSD will continue to graduate students who are not only college and career ready, but will know the power of their words and actions.”