Students are handing back a yearbook at a Savannah high school that was published with a picture of a student holding a paper with the N-word on it.
While no one has been disciplined yet, Principal Derrick Butler of Windsor Forest High School has apologized and promised new yearbooks. However, the school is promising diversity and sensitivity training for the students, and a closer review process of yearbook publishing by the school administration.
This follows the incident of the recent racist texts sent to all Black students in a junior high in Katy, Texas, that has yet to conclude with an identified culprit. Parents in Katy complained that the school was not doing enough to find out who the anonymous texter was.
These incidents lie in the face of the U.S. Department of Education’s decision to scale back civil rights investigations and the Office for Civil Rights that handles them. There was a 61 percent spike in racial harassment complaints in fiscal year 2016, and the 675 complaints in 2017 made up a 25 percent increase from 2016, the biggest one in a year’s time since 2009.
Butler said that the school “values and embraces diversity and believes that every individual deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.”
The publisher was contacted to discontinue further printing of the current edition of the yearbook. However, the Savannah school district is not naming the yearbook advisor.
The mother of the girl in the photo took to Facebook to defend her daughter from social media bashing: “This is my biracial child in the picture, she is holding a note that another student wrote to her!…. this is unacceptable!”
“It’s kind of upsetting, but I mean it’s the world we live in today you know, with the freedom of speech thing. Everybody feels like they can write and do whatever they want to do,” said James Fredd, another parent.