We’Ced Weighs In: Reflections on the Desert Vista High School Incident

January 30, 2016 /


By We’Ced Youth Media

Photo via Flickr


Editor’s Note: Over the weekend, a photo of six smiling Desert Vista High School students dressed in black shirts emblazoned with gold letters as they arranged to spell a racial slur, surfaced on the internet. The viral image sparked nationwide headlines and responses on social media.  We’Ced reporters discussed the incident and the aftermath.  Below are their reflections.


“The school needs to, at least, suspend the group of girls and educate them on the history of the word as well as other racial epithets. They need to understand why it is unacceptable to wear and pose with something so offensive, especially in a school setting.” – Natalie, 17.


“I think the group of girls should be punished, but also taught. They should learn why it was wrong for doing something like this. I don’t know what the appropriate punishment would be, but the school needs to take action. This incident really angered me because of the ignorance attached to it.” Allie, 14.


“I believe it is unacceptable for students to behave in this manner. They not only look bad, but so do their parents and school. I think the students should be expelled and should have to give back to the community, especially the high school, in some way.” –David, 18.


“These girls … should also apologize to the community and Black students on campus. No group of people should face this type of racism at school.” – Jesus, 16.


“This incident really angered me because people should never use this word or any racial slurs period. Why would a group of students think it would be okay to do something like this?” – Alex, 17.


“These girls need to be expelled and taught about the history of this word and other racial slurs. If behavior like this continues, maybe they should not be allowed to graduate or should have to complete some type of community service with a Black or other POC organization.” –Stephanie, 17.


“ Kids get in trouble for less. They should be expelled and need to complete community service and attend a cultural competence class.” – Robert, 21.


“These girls need to be taught the history and impact of this word. They need to know that this word was used to degrade a group of people, perhaps then they will understand the meaning behind it and how hurtful it is.” – Layla, 14.


“This incident is going to follow them for the rest of their lives because it is on the internet… Hopefully, this is a learning experience for all us. We need to teach our youth to not use hurtful language.” –Nisa, 17.


“It was reported that these girls received a 5-day suspension, but…they need to be expelled and mandated to complete community service and counseling. Only with proper education and cultural competence can we prevent other incidents like this.” – Cheyenne, 17.


“The girls need to be held accountable for their actions even if it was just a “joke.”…Teachers at that school should also be liable for what happened, Why are they failing to educate students? ” –Alice, 18.


“Using a racial slur to get a laugh is not only stupid, but offensive and disrespectful. A 5-day suspension is ridiculous. They got a ‘slap on the wrist,’ and need to receive a harsher punishment. What concerns me the most is what these girls are learning at school and at home.”

Victor, 17.

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