The yearbook photos of language teachers at a southern California high school are inspiring harsh words among school officials and parents.
The photos show the language teachers at San Pasqual High School in Escondido dressed in stereotypical outfits related to the language they teach, according to San Diego station KGTV.
One picture showed a French teacher sporting a beret, but it was the images of Spanish teachers wearing sombreros and fake mustaches that some found problematic.
“They could be offensive if they’re making fun of us” is how parent Martin Reyes tactfully put it. “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.”
The Escondido Union High School District told San Diego NBC affiliate KNSD that the pictures were taken at the beginning of the year for use as teacher ID photos.
The school district released a statement to the Escondido Times-Advocate reiterating this point, but also declaring the photos to be “culturally insensitive and in poor judgement.”
San Pasqual High School principal Martin Casas said in a statement that the school “takes pride in its rich history and diversity.”
He added: “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. We are committed to continuing our efforts to ensure all students, families and staff feel welcome and valued.”
Casas later posted an apology on Twitter in both English and Spanish: