School district apologizes for ‘culturally insensitive’ yearbook photos of teachers

A Californian high school apologizes for the “bad judgment” which led its teachers of world languages ​​to pose in photos “insensitive to the culture”.

Spanish teachers at San Pasqual High School in Escondido, Calif., Wore ponchos, sombreros and fake mustaches while the school’s French teacher wore a black beret, sunglasses and pearls.

The photos were originally taken for staff photo IDs earlier this year, but were seen publicly on Monday after the yearbook was released to the school’s graduating students.

The school district apologized on Tuesday. The next day, principal Martin Casas addressed the outcry in a letter to students, families and school staff.

“Although we are convinced that our world language does not mean any ill will towards anyone. We cannot ignore it. Cultural appropriation is offensive, whether it is intentional or not,” he said. he declares. “We owe an apology to our Latinx and Chicano community, a community of which I am a part. This is unacceptable and has no place in our school.”

Reaction to the photos has been mixed, with some parents suggesting the school is too sensitive.

“It doesn’t sound offensive to me,” parent Merced Juarez, who is Hispanic, told NBC News affiliate in San Diego. She added that her son’s teacher was “very good” and “strict with them because she wanted them to learn Spanish.”

However, parent Martin Reyes Garcia said he understood why some people might be offended.

“It might be (offensive) because it’s not just for Mexicans, it’s for all Latinos who speak Spanish and they might feel like they’re trying to laugh at us,” he said. he declared to the affiliate.

San Pasqual High School is using the incident as a teachable moment, according to a grade obtained by TODAY.

On Wednesday, teachers shared a summary of what happened at the start of the first period and asked students to choose two words that describe how the incident made them feel. At the end of the class, the teachers then led the students into a discussion about how they can restore relationships and prevent something like this from happening again in the future.

“This is part of a long journey to continue our work to become a culturally competent organization. It will require us to have courageous conversations and reflect on our biases,” Casas said. “We look forward to engaging our students, parents, community and higher education partners to ensure this does not happen again.”