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California Students Under Fire After Posing for Picture Wearing T-Shirts That Spelled Racial Slur

The principal of a Southern California high school didn’t mince words in her rebuke of a group of students who thought it clever to pose for a photo wearing T-shirts with letters that spelled out racist and homophobic slurs.

The offensive photo was reportedly taken during the annual senior picnic at Escondido High School, where it’s a tradition for students to sport lettered T-shirts and spell out school-friendly phrases with their friends as they pose for the senior photo, local station KGTV reported.

Escondido High School

School leaders say the students in question will face “appropriate disciplinary actions.” (Image courtesy of Instagram)

Now, ten students at the suburban San Diego school are facing “disciplinary action” after a picture of them spelling out the N-word was posted to Instagram last week. In another photo, four students are seen spelling a gay slur.

“We are a campus that prides itself on inclusion and embraces diversity. We will not tolerate actions that send messages of racism and promote divisiveness,” principal Dr. Adriana Lepe Ramirez said in a statement.

“We all need to understand the power of our words and actions, and we must take responsibility for the decisions we make each and every day,” she added. “At Escondido High School, we continue to work every day to build a culture of family and unity across our community.”

Though the phrases are typically pre-approved by school leaders, students say it’s not uncommon for students to get together and spell their own words and phrases for their own pictures after the official senior photo is taken. According to district spokeswoman Karyl O’Brien, it was one student who “started pulling individuals together, and started doing inappropriate messages.”

Escondido High School

Image courtesy of Twitter.

School officials said they’re now working with the Escondido Police Department to investigate the incident. They said the parents of the students involved have been contacted and ensured that “appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken.”

According to CBS 8, police on Friday also responded to threats on social media that appeared to be linked to the photos. The nature of the threat and on what site it was posted remains unclear, however.

The photos have angered Escondido High School alumni, who said the posts will be a black eye for the school.

Folks who haven’t attended the school “don’t know how it is here,” said Jovan Pete, a 2017 graduate. “So they just look at that and assume that’s how it is there. Just racist kids there or just obnoxious kids who don’t know right from wrong.”

Fellow graduate Cade Pannell called the students “ignorant.”

“It hurt me personally,” he told KGTV. “Whether they thought it was a joke, it’s not. And if you do think it’s a joke, I think that’s very ignorant of you.”

Watch more in the clip below.

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