- Several teachers from San Pasqual High School’s foreign language department dressed up for their yearbook photos, KGTV reported.
- But people think the decision to dress in costume – in particular, the choice of some Spanish teachers to wear sombreros and faux mustaches – is culturally insensitive.
- The school responded to the backlash in a statement saying it was “in poor judgment” and that it will “use this situation as a tool to remind students, as well as staff, to remember the impacts of their words and actions.”
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A high school in Escondido, California, is facing backlash over some of the staff photos included in its yearbook.
Specifically, several teachers from San Pasqual High School’s foreign language department dressed up for their yearbook photos, according to KGTV.
But people think the decision to dress in costume. In particular, the choice of some Spanish teachers to wear sombreros and faux mustaches – is culturally insensitive. A French teacher was also pictured wearing a beret and sunglasses.
Community members had mixed reactions.
For some, like Martin Reyes who has a child that attends the school, it depends on the intentions behind the actions.
“They could be offensive if they’re making fun of us,” Reyes told KGTV. “It could be something honorable if they’re trying to make honour to the Mexican culture. It would be better without the big mustache and hats.”
Another parent, Merced Juarez, said that she saw no issue with it.
“It doesn’t look offensive to me,” she said.
Tania Marin, a parent and former student at the school, said she thought it was fine given the context.
“I think that lately everything is so sensitive,” she told NBC 7. “If they were teaching Russian and they had a Russian hat, I would find it hilarious.”
One parent questioned why the pictures were taken.
“As leaders in the school, that wasn’t thought through very well. I’m sure it went through a lot of hands,” Brooke Angaga said.
Following community and online backlash to the costumes and poses, the district responded.
In a statement provided to the Times-Advocate, Principal Martin Casas said the pictures were “culturally insensitive and in poor judgment.” Casas said the pictures were taken as the teachers’ ID photos at the beginning of the school year and then repurposed as their yearbook pictures.
“San Pasqual High School takes pride in its rich history and diversity. It is our intent to use this situation as a tool to remind students, as well as staff, to remember the impacts of their words and actions,” Casas said. “We are committed to continuing our efforts to ensure all students, families and staff feel welcome and valued.”
That statement was also posted on the school’s Twitter.
A spokesperson for the high school told INSIDER that on Tuesday the school conducted an in-class exercise to address the situation where students could discuss how the incident makes them feel and what could be done to “prevent this from happening again.”
“This is part of a long journey to continue our work to becoming culturally proficient organisation,” the spokesperson said. “This will require us to have courageous conversations and to reflect on our biases.”
Casas said he is committed to changing the culture at the school.
“Cultural appropriation is offensive, even if the intent is not to offend, and has no place in our school,” he said. “We have a lot of work to do.”
- Read more:
- A Chicago high school is spending $US53,000 to reprint its yearbooks after several students flashed white supremacy symbols in their photos
- A teen spent 4 hours doing his makeup for his yearbook picture – and the end result is amazing
- A teen slammed her high school’s sexist dress code with a genius yearbook quote
- A teen used ‘Stranger Things’ to write a hidden message to her high school teachers in her yearbook quote
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