A high school canceled its spirit week after an unofficial 'thug day' was called out for having racist undertones

Google MapsMemorial High School in Houston.
  • Memorial High School in Houston canceled its annual spirit week after students dressed in chains, jerseys, and cornrows for an unofficial “thug day.”
  • About 30 students at Memorial High School morphed a so-called “jersey day” into a “thug day.”
  • On Twitter, critics called the students’ behaviour racially insensitive and pointed to instances where black students had been punished for specific hairstyles and attire.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

A Houston high school canceled its annual spirit week after students dressed in chains, jerseys, and cornrows for an unofficial “thug day” that was criticised for having racist undertones.

About 30 students at Memorial High School morphed a so-called “jersey day” into a “thug day,” in a move that people online called out earlier this week, KHOU reported.

Photos posted online showed several white students wearing over-sized basketball jerseys, fake tattoos, cornrows, and gold chains for the spirit day.

On Twitter, critics called the students’ behaviour racially insensitive and pointed to instances where black students had been punished for specific hairstyles and attire.

Spring Branch Independent School District said in a statement to the Houston Chronicle that the spirit week is meant to celebrate the incoming senior class.

The week was supposed to feature spirit days with Hippie, Jersey, 2000s, USA/America, and Hawaiian themes.


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“On Tuesday, some rising juniors wore inappropriate dress and body/hair decorations as part of an alternative, unapproved response to the theme day. As a shared expectation about the theme was clearly violated, MHS has cancelled all remaining dress theme days for the remainder of this week,” the statement said. “While the majority of rising juniors followed the approved dress theme on Tuesday, any instance of an inappropriate or offensive dress violation will not be tolerated.”

Former student Monica Day told KHOU, however, that “thug day” was advertised through secret fliers. She said in 2015, the day was called “senior swag day.”

“We also used to have ‘Senioritas’ which was a Mexican theme day in which many girls would wear Mexican dresses and boys would wear ponchos, sombreros and fake mustaches,” Day said. “During the theme day students would ‘act Mexican’ and ask other students if they needed their lawns mowed. One female student who I will not name went so far as to dress as a border patrol officer at school.”

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