Canyon High School will eliminate “Señores and Señoritas Day,” an event where students were encouraged to don Latino-themed attire, after several students this spring arrived to campus dressed as gang members, gardeners, border patrol agents and pregnant teens.
Orange Unified officials have announced they will also require the school’s administrators and staff to take sensitivity training, and vow to better review student activities to ensure they aren’t culturally insensitive.
These actions follow a district investigation into a complaint from a former student who called the “Señores and Señoritas Day” racist and offensive to Latino students and their families.
“It was determined some students dressed in stereotypical fashion which was not appropriate, and that the actions of these students were demeaning,” Orange Unified Superintendent Michael Christensen said Thursday in a written statement. “The district is committed to working with staff and students of Canyon High School to ensure a positive school climate and culture in all school activities.”
Canyon High held “Señores and Señoritas Day” June 6 as part of the school’s senior activity week. One boy dressed as a gardener, while another boy dressed as a pregnant girl pushing a baby stroller. Others dressed as gang members with bandanas and teardrop tattoo replicas. Some students wore plaid Pendleton shirts, ponchos, large sombreros and mustaches. A few students dressed as INS agents, walking around the campus “arresting Mexican students.”
What’s crazy is, no one on the school’s campus had a problem with this. A FORMER student is the one who actually blew whistle…
“Señores and Señoritas Day” has been part of Senior Week for the past three years. The district began investigating in June after former student Jared Garcia-Kessler filed a complaint. Garcia-Kessler, who graduated in 2011, said some students had also dressed inappropriately in previous years. He filed the complaint after he found out the school continued organizing the event in 2012, with even more students dressing in stereotypical costumes.
“It was very offensive. It was demeaning to my culture,” Garcia-Kessler said. “The school set it up as a day to celebrate Mexican culture, but some students thought it would be funny to go over the top. I just thought enough was enough.”
We understand that Cali is heavily influenced by Mexican culture and perhaps the school was not attempting to be offensive, but we just don’t believe that a “Jamaal and Sheniqua” day would go over any better with Black folks at a school either.
Do you believe the school was out of pocket for organizing an event like this to begin with or did the students just take it too far??
Image via Flickr