Published June 27, 2008
COVINA, Calif. – Phony "ghetto" names were printed under a yearbook photo of Black Student Union members at a suburban Los Angeles high school, leaving some angry students and parents calling for an apology and a reprint.
"Tay Tay Shaniqua," "Crisphy Nanos" and "Laquan White" were among the nine names placed next to the club's photo in Charter Oak High School's yearbook, Charter Oak Unified School District Superintendent Clint Harwick said.
"A yearbook is very significant and something you always hold on to," said Toi Jackson, whose daughter, Evanne, is a BSU member at the school in Covina. "When she shows it to her kids she will have to explain why she has the name Crisphy."
School ended about two weeks ago, and authorities said the names were discovered only after the yearbooks were handed out.
"Someone was just trying to be funny, but it's not funny," said Jordan Smith, a BSU member. "It's upsetting. It's a mistake that should not have been overlooked."
The district office and the school were closed Friday. Joseph M. Probst, the school board's president, called the incident "atrocious" in an interview with the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
"I am sure the students will be spoken to and given an apology if they haven't been already," he said.
Probst said the student responsible for the names will be a senior next year. He did not know the student's race or gender but said that "appropriate actions will be taken."
Students were given printed stickers with the correct names to put into the yearbook.
"What else can you do?" Probst said. "It would be nice to snap a magic finger, but I think it was incredibly well done."
Some of the BSU members and their parents disagree and want the books recalled and reprinted. Toi Jackson told the Tribune that on the last day of school, her daughter was given a handful of stickers and told to pass them out to her friends.
"How humiliating," she said. "The school is responsible, and they ask the victim to pass out the stickers."
Officials at the 2,000-student school about 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles say the student body is about 4.5 percent black, 45 percent Hispanic and 30 percent white.