Phoenix Students Flaunt Racist Anti-Black T-Shirt, Spark Outrage


A photo showing six high school girls wearing t-shirts that, when standing side by side, spelled the N word, has brought national attention to Desert Vista High School – a predominantly white high school in Phoenix, Arizona.

Tempe Union High School District spokeswoman Jill Hanks told the Associated Press that the students were wearing the t-shirts to spell out “BEST*YOU’VE*EVER*SEEN*CLASS*OF*2016” – on the day of the senior class’s annual yearbook picture. But at some point, the girls in the photo went off to the side and spelled out the racial slur.

In a letter to parents, Desert Vista Principal Dr. Christina Barela said that the students involved in the incident will face disciplinary action.

“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.”

In a separate letter to parents, Kenneth Baca, superintendent for the Tempe Union High School District, called the photo disappointing and expressed his disgust.

“We are appalled and disappointed, and behavior such as this will not be tolerated. Words matter and the word that was used in the photograph is vulgar and vicious. It has no place in our schools or our society—regardless of the intent…The action of these students is bringing calls from citizens of every color and ethnicity for greater acceptance of our differences.  We are working with students, parents and staff, as well as community leaders and organizations, to heal and learn from this.

Though the school’s Black Student Union tweeted out a photo following the controversy with a group of white and black students smiling together…

…many took to Twitter to express their anger at the reports that the racist act got the girls only a five-day suspension.

A  petition is started on “to demand the resignation of the school’s principal, Christine Barela, immediately for deeming this 5-day vacation from school an acceptable punishment. The six girls in question need to be expelled from the high school and its district to understand the gravity of their actions to the fullest. These expressions of racism will not be tolerated any longer.

A former English teacher at Desert Vista feels vindicated and adds that the viral image reflects the hostility she faced while teaching at the High School for three years. She filed a federal lawsuit against Tempe Union High School District in 2014, claiming that students at the school were openly racist, and that school officials ignored her complaints.

“When I saw it I screamed in my house, ‘Thank you Jesus!’ I had been portrayed in this community as the crazy, angry black woman who claimed that there were racial issues at Desert Vista High School, but apparently there were not,” she told KNXV-TV.

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  1. Oh yes lets ruin 6 girls lives for a racial slur… thats TOTALLY fair.
    Teens do stupid shit. Why condemn them for life for it?
    Expulsion is hardly a good consequence to something so stupid. They are already being publically acknknowledged and hated, that is the ultimate punishment for a teen whose life revovles around social pressure.

    • Stupid SHIT like that ALWAYS begins at home SO PARENTS BE AWARE OF WHAT YOU SAY AND HOW YOU TREAT OTHER PEOPLE or your kids will turn into YOU…….

  2. last I checked being racist inst illegal, I dont see how passing laws or enforcing punishments for things that “upset” peoples feelings will ever solve anything. if this was the case what about the majority of blacks? they seem to be racist and proud of it.

  3. I don’t get it. People use it multiple times in a sentence nowadays, in music lyrics, written word.

    I wonder if anyone would care if they spelled out “Cracker”.


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