High school yearbook displays offensive racial photo

The photo was taken during Spirit Week, intended to be funny

NAPLES, Fla. (CNN) – A Latina teenager in Naples, Florida is shocked and disappointed at what she found in her school yearbook.

In a spread showing pictures from homecoming week, she found images of her schoolmates dressed as racial stereotypes.

The photo was taken during Spirit Week as a way to be funny. But not everyone saw the humor. Some say the administration shouldn’t have allowed it, adding that it perpetuated an age-old stereotype.

Flipping through her Naples High School yearbook, Jessica Morales didn’t expect to see this photo of her peers dressed in colorful ponchos, wielding fake green cards, with another girl wearing a shirt saying “Border Patrol”

Morales said, “It was just really offensive, because it kind of belittles the whole issue.”

Her father, Miguel Morales, had not seen the picture. He was speechless. “It’s really racist, I can tell you, I’ve never seen anything like that. I thought it was 2015, and people don’t act like that.”

His daughter posted the photo on social media, and friends as far as Texas rallied with her.

Kristen Perez, Jessica’s friend, said, I was in some way shocked that Naples High School would put it in the yearbook, like this is a highlight of something they did this year, this is something Naples High School condones and represents.”

Students I spoke with off camera, who were in this spread, say it was just in fun, and not meant to hurt anyone.

I asked the district about the vetting process.

In a statement, they tell me that if a student “finds a picture questionable, the yearbook sponsor brings it forward to Principal Saba. That regrettably did not happen in this case. Mr. Saba stated, we regret if any Golden Eagle student, parent or community member found it offensive. It was not our intent.”

For Jessica, that statement doesn’t do enough. She plans to head to college and choose a career that helps keep anything like this from happening again. “It would be amazing to do that, to, I don’t know, make an impact on the world because there’s so much inequality in it, it would be awesome to be able to make a change”

Jessica says she doesn’t know the students in the picture, just that they were taken during Homecoming Spirit Week. Now, the district says they don’t have any plans to reprimand those students.

Copyright 2015 CNN

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