Latest News

Teachers don sombreros, mustaches in ‘insensitive’ yearbook photos, Calif. school says

Screengrab from Twitter

A California high school’s not laughing about yearbook photos showing Spanish teachers decked out in sombreros, ponchos and fake mustaches, KNSD reports.

A statement released by San Pasqual High School administrators calls the photos “insensitive” and says the teachers showed “poor judgment,” KGTV reported. The Escondido school is north of San Diego.

“We owe an apology to our Latinx and Chicano community, a community that I am part of,” Principal Martin Casas wrote in a statement, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. “It is unacceptable and has no place in our school. I am saddened and disappointed that this happened, but we will use it as (an) opportunity to learn and grow together.”

The photos displayed in the World Language Faculty section of the school’s 2019 yearbook feature six Spanish teachers wearing sombreros and ponchos. The teachers, which include several women, also hold fake mustaches over their faces.

Another instructor, a French teacher, poses in a black beret, long black gloves and sunglasses.

The school’s statement says Casas has discussed the photos with the teachers and that administrators are “taking precautions” to avoid future yearbook problems, the Escondido Times-Advocate reported.

“San Pasqual High School takes pride in its rich history and diversity,” Casas says in the statement, according to the publication. “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.”.

He says the school remains committed to making everyone feel “welcome and valued,” the Escondido Times-Advocate reported.

But some parents contacted by local television stations and newspapers said they weren’t bothered by the photos.

“It doesn’t look offensive to me,” parent Merced Juarez said, KNSD reported. Her son had a class with one of the teachers.

“I think that lately everything is so sensitive,” said parent Tania Marin, according to the station. “If they were teaching Russian and they had a Russian hat, I would find it hilarious.”

“I’m pretty sure all they wanted to do was to celebrate it, because for so long we can’t even show our Mexican culture without being degraded,” said Salma Lucero, a 16-year-old sophomore at the school, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Others weren’t sure how to feel about the photos.

“They could be offensive if they’re making fun of us,” said parent Martin Pasqual, KGTV reported. “But it could be something honorable if they’re trying to do honor to the Mexican culture. It would be better without the big mustache and hats.”

“As leaders in the school, that wasn’t thought through very well,” said Escondido resident Brooke Angaga, KNSD reported.

“I thought it was racist,” said C.J. Craig, a 15-year-old freshman at the school, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. “I thought they were making fun.”

The pages of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School 2019 yearbook will include dogs. Twitter user sighnatasha shared this video and wrote, “Including the therapy/service dogs in the yearbook is the best decision we’ve made so far.”

Related stories from Merced Sun-Star

Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.
  Comments