An offensive yearbook photo using Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a racial slur caused an uproar at Collins Hill High School in Suwanee, Georgia.
The photoshopped image shows a student standing with King as he holds a binder that reads, “Official N-Word Pass. Assigned to [student name hidden]. Given by black speech n**a.”
It was only after the yearbooks were distributed this week that the photo was noticed. Now, students, parents, and staff are speaking out to condemn the use of the racist photo in the yearbook.
“It was very disrespectful,” Milan Broughton, a senior at the school, told CBS 46. Milan also shared that students want their money back because of the photo.
Principal Kerensa Wing, who was named the 2020 Principal of the Year by the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders, addressed the issue in a letter sent to parents, students, and faculty:
I am reaching out to make you aware of a disturbing issue involving our school yearbook. The yearbooks arrived this week and we began distributing them when it was brought to our attention that it includes an inappropriate and racist photograph. This is unacceptable and we are currently investigating to determine who submitted this photo and how our processes did not address this before it went to print. Once this investigation is completed we will take appropriate action with those involved. In our initial investigation, it appears that some of the pages planned for the yearbook were not finished prior to our students moving to digital learning. As these photos were not available, the yearbook company replaced those pages with senior selfies that had been submitted. Unfortunately, the picture was not caught in the final proof before the yearbook went to press. That said, this photo was submitted by our yearbook staff and we are meeting with those involved to determine how that occurred.Principal Kerensa Wing
In the same letter, Wing detailed the school’s solution. The yearbook company would print a sticker of a replacement photo, which would be mailed to all who purchased the yearbook.
However, in a follow-up letter, Wing issued a recall to all 2020 yearbooks that had been redistributed this week. The school is now printing newly revised yearbooks that students will receive in early July.
Wing also shared that the school is currently investigating all students and staff involved with the issue.
“While we cannot change the past, we can continue our work to build a more inclusive school community that focuses on unity, acceptance, understanding, tolerance, and hope,” Wing wrote.
Racist Yearbook Photo — Sources
Letter from Kerensa Wing: Yearbook Issue and Apology
Letter from Kerensa Wing: Yearbook Recall
Kerensa Wing Named National Principal of the Year!