A group of six high school girls in Phoenix thought it would be a great idea to take a picture with t-shirts spelling out n****r, sparking outrage across the country, as the photo made rounds on social media.
“Senior Picture Day” was Friday, and students have a tradition of wearing t-shirts that spell out various phrases, but this surely wasn’t what Desert Vista High School had in mind.
The girls who created the photo of the racial slur were part of a larger group of girls, who wore black shirts with letters formed with gold tape, and spelled out the phrase “BEST*YOU’VE*EVER*SEEN*CLASS*OF*2016.”
The offensive picture was posted to social media, and by Friday afternoon, the racist photo had gone viral and school officials and parents found out about the incident.
Dr. Christine Barela, the principal at Desert Vista, sent the following letter to parents:
We want to let you know we share your outrage and disappointment over the actions of a handful of our students today. We want to make it crystal clear those actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated at Desert Vista. Those actions do not represent who we are as a campus. We can assure you we will discipline these students in accordance with district policy and our student handbook. While we don’t discuss individual discipline, we can tell you that in addition, the obvious need for sensitivity training will be addressed.
Students, though, say that thanks to Twitter, they discovered that the girls who took part in the racist photo shoot only received a five-day suspension, and they don’t think the punishment fits the crime.
— Chimezie Akpuda (@borntobeWHYL) January 22, 2016
Students at Desert Vista High School wore shirts that spelled out NI**ER. Their punishment? A mere 5-day suspension. pic.twitter.com/KSNM3s9sol
— Jam (@jams_aqt) January 22, 2016
The school’s Black Student Union responded by a tweeting a photo of their own that had a message of unity and tolerance. Using the hashtag #ThunderStrong, students of all races stand together smiling, showing love in the face of hate.
The incident that occurred today at Desert Vista High School does not reflect the beliefs of the student body! pic.twitter.com/WkOQpkqtaN
— DV BSU (@dvhs_bsu) January 22, 2016
Watch more on the student’s reactions here, via The Arizona Republic:
Featured image via Twitter