SMH: Phoenix High School Students Pose For Photo With Shirts That Spell Out Racial Slur
Six students from Phoenix’s Desert Vista High School are under fire after a photo of them posed in t-shirts that spelled out a racial slur went viral.
According to Tempe Union High School District spokeswoman Jill Hanks, the high school seniors were wearing shirts to spell out ‘BEST*YOU’VE*EVER*SEEN*CLASS*OF*2016’ for a senior class yearbook photo. But the issue arose when a group of girls decided to take their own photo, using their shirts to spell out ‘NI**ER.’ According to the Daily Mail, the photo was then posted on photo and video sharing app Snapchat and then Twitter, sparking a number of complaints and phone calls to the principal on Friday (Jan. 22).
Hanks shared her thoughts and that of school district officials in an email stating:
“We are absolutely aware and outraged by this behavior. The students will be disciplined in accordance with district policy and while we don’t discuss specific discipline I can tell you that will be addressing the obvious need for sensitivity training in this case.”
Phoenix New Times also reported that Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio spoke to the Phoenix Police Department and learned that the girls had been threatened after the photo went viral by angry students.
“They made a bad mistake as many teenagers do in life. But, any threats against these young women is going to be taken very seriously…People just need to knock off the threats and leave this to school officials and their parents. Period,” DiCiccio wrote on Facebook.
Tempe Union Superintendent Kenneth Baca chimed in on the situation offering, “The event that took place today at Desert Vista will not be tolerated.” “It is unacceptable for any racial slur to be used regardless of intent. We need to understand that words matter. I can assure you the appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.”
News One has reported that three of the students reportedly lost scholarships and all were placed on suspension. Backlash from the viral photo has also sparked a change.org petition to request expulsion for the teens.
Press play below as one student shares her own opinion on the situation, sharing that the students deserved to be expelled.